Monday, August 31, 2009

Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes

This is about a 3rd grade African American girl named Dyamonde. She is VERY smart and has a lot of attitude. She has just moved to a new city after her parents divorced and lives in a small apartment with her mom. When she gets home from school she goes to her neighbors until her mom gets off of work to bring her home. She is very upset because she had to move away from her best friend and has not found a new best friend at her new school and she has been there for 3 weeks. Later in the story there is a new boy that comes into her class name Free, and he is very angry and very rude to everyone. Dyamonde finally gets tired of his behavior and asks him what is bothering him. Obviously, he is very hesitant but eventually he opens up and tells her that his dad lost his job and they had to move there so he could find a new one. Realizing that they have something in common the two of them continue talking and become good friends.

I thought this was a good book that discussed a lot of common topics for children. It brought up families moving and having to move away from friends and also living with parents who are divorced and how that effects children. In the book it also talks about how Dyamonde loves math and how it is her favorite subject. I thought this was good for young girls because there has been a lot of emphasis on girls exceeding in reading and language classes and boys in math and science so I thought it was important for girls to see that it is ok to be good in thosee subjects. Dyamonde's friend Free that moves to the city tells her that his actual name is Reed Freeman but he has everyone call him Free because he got made fun of for his real name, Reed. When she asks him why he was made fun of he tells her it is because there aren't very many black people named Reed. I thought that was interesting and something that I would want to take into consideration if I was going to read this book in my future classroom. To me it was sounding as if there are "black" names and "white" names and that it is clear which are which. I was a little confused by this aspect of the book but perhaps it could be used as a teaching tool and could help discuss some points of views. It may help to discuss diversity but for me I didn't understand why the fact that Reed wasn't a commom black name caused him to change his name. I don't see why it was important to the story. Overall, I thought it was an interesting story and I think it would be good for children because a lot of the siuations can translate into their lives.

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