The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods is a spectacular story.
It all starts with a dream; one that eleven year old Violet Diamond wishes were true— for everyone in her family to be together and look alike the way “real families” do.
Violet is biracial. Her African American father died before she was born. Raised in a loving home by her white mother and sister, she loathes the stares she gets as the odd ball in the crowd.
Despite her mother doing everything in her power to incorporate Violet’s African American heritage into their lives, Violet has more questions than answers about her identity. Living in a town where the majority of people are white doesn’t help prevent Violet from feeling that she stands out like a sore thumb.
When Violet starts asking questions about her father’s side of her family she discovers that there is a whole other part of herself to discover. A week long visit with Roxanne Diamond, her paternal grandmother exposes Violet to the life her father grew up in. Violet in turn learns that while the two sides of her family are different in so many ways, love is universal. She realizes that different isn’t so bad but what makes people special.
This book was an absolute delight to read. I fell in love with the inquisitive Violet Diamond. The author creates believable, lovable characters. Woods utilizes her main character to address very hard issues through perspective instead of propaganda which is paramount for young readers to reach their own conclusions. Once the perspective shifts, not only does the main character start to grow, but the reader becomes invested in her journey.
I would recommend this book to all young readers; especially those going through the awkward self identity phase. I would doubly recommend this book to parents of biracial children, like myself, who are faced with difficult questions. Though Violet Diamond is a fictional character, her issues are real.
Review by Trinika A.