Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond” as Want to Read:
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,131 Ratings  ·  225 Reviews
Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods’ moving, uplifting story of a girl finally meeting the African American side of her family explores racism and how it feels to be biracial, and celebrates families of all kinds.

Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. Sh
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 9th 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 04, 2014 Serina rated it really liked it
Shelves: gs-2014int
Can we say precocious?! She's 11 year old mixed girl. Not much happens in terms of action, she simply connects with the other half of her family who is African American. Speaking to younger readers, with super short chapters that make for light reading. There is a strong emphasis on family connections and identity. Very politically correct and gently addressed racial issues without becoming offensive. Beautifully shows how a mixed person can feel part of no race. Someone mixed: to white people t ...more
Mar 24, 2014 hannah added it
Shelves: middle-grade
I don't know. Cute and sweet, but with some characters who troubled me? But I guess they did so in a realistic way that is much like real people, so that's also good. Yes, this book is good because it's very realistic about the complexities of race and biracial-ness. But like, a white parent who constantly tells their mixed, black-appearing child that all people are of the human race and race doesn't matter (instead of talking about how even though race is a construct, it's still very real and s ...more
Becky Keir Grace
Loved this book! Great book to read and discuss with your middle grader readers.

Violet Diamond is eleven years old, has a wonderful family, good friends and a lot of hobbies. But something in missing in her family. Her father died a couple months before she was born, and she has never met any of his family. Also, she struggles, because her mother and older sister are white; her father was black. Everyone in her family is fair skinned with light eyes. People are constantly giving her funny looks
Interesting plot, but the quality of the writing left something to be desired. Too much telling instead of showing, and the dialogue occasionally felt contrived. The insertions of French with immediate translations and the constant vocabulary lessons were obnoxious.

(Personal Pet Peeve: the author must not be very familiar with the Pacific Northwest. Those of us native to this area are quite proud of our ability to withstand the weather without needing an umbrella, and few - if any - own whole co
Tracey Walsh
May 05, 2015 Tracey Walsh rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The characters were so captivating. You can't help but love them. Great life lessons to tajKe away from Violet's story.
Mary Lee
After reading the first book in the Land of Stories series, which is a NYTimes bestselling series and wildly popular with my students, I learned that books I might think are not well written might be just right for 10-11 year-olds.

For that reason, and because discussions around race and culture are common in my very multi-cultural classroom, I think this book is going to make the rounds like wildfire.

The heart of this story is a biracial girl who is exploring what it means to be half black in a
Sep 07, 2014 Kristen rated it it was amazing
This book makes me want to hug on my sweet Mimi so much. I really relate to the bond between grandmothers and granddaughters- something about skipping a generation that really makes two people cosmically connected.

I loved the treatment of race in this book as well. I loved the beautiful language that incorporated new language in a kid-friendly way without being heavy handed or relying too much on an obnoxiously precocious narrator as so many books do.
Jun 11, 2016 Kimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, lyrc-2017
I really wanted to like this because I think the message was important, but it was so saccharine and boring.
Jan 07, 2017 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The premise of this is story was one that interested me and I was excited when I began reading it. But sadly, the writing left a lot to be desired. Honestly, I know high school students who could write circles around this author. What's one of the first things we tell our students when we teach them about writing a story? Show not tell. I think the author needs to revisit that lesson. The whole book was dialogue, dialogue, dialogue, tell, tell, tell, a smidgen of showing, then some more telling ...more
Rebekah Torres
Jun 14, 2016 Rebekah Torres rated it really liked it
For my Alternate book report, I chose to write a birthday list for Violet Diamond. I chose this alternate because Violet tells the reader many things about herself, her likes, and her activities. This gave me many ideas for gifts for her.

Violet, your 12th birthday is coming up! What would you like for your birthday?

I had a list of 30 things, but my mom made me cut it down to 10. Here is the list:

1. An iTunes gift card. I heard a lot of good old songs at my Bibi’s house. I want to get them and pu
Ms. Yingling
Dec 23, 2013 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
Violet has a long summer ahead of her, and lots of thoughts in her head. Her friend Athena is heading off to Greece, she has a new cat named Hazel, and she still struggles with the fact that her mother and sister are white, while her father was black. She wants a family that all looks the same, and this longing is intensified because her father died right before she was born. Her father's mother is estranged from the family, and after doing some research, Violet confronts her mother and asks to ...more
Jul 15, 2015 Justine rated it really liked it
This is my favorite out of all the Intermediate Nominees for the 2015-2016 Golden Sower Nominees. Violet Diamond's father was African American and her mother is Caucasian. Violet's father died in a car accident before she was born. Because her mother was the person driving the car, her grandmother blamed her for the accident which left her bitter towards the entire family. Violet has lived with her Caucasian mother, sister and grandparents her whole life. She goes to a school where only one othe ...more
May 06, 2014 Jo rated it really liked it
This is a really wonderful and unique story about a young biracial girl who is trying to understand her history. Raised by a white mother and grandmother and living with her white half sister since her father died before she was born, Violet Diamond has always felt sort of out of place in her small Washington town. People give her looks when she walks down the street with her family, as if she were adopted, or someone else's child. Yet when she goes out with her friend Yaz, who is black, everyon ...more
Such a wonderful book! I'm so happy to see more and more books that depict a child with a biracial or bi-ethnic heritage. In the world of children's books this is a wonderful gain. As to the plot, please see the synopsis of the plot given by the publisher. My writing here is to express my thanks to the author for writing such a wonderful character, and a lovely book. Violet Diamond is such a big hearted, believable character. At every turn the subject of family is always treated with such love, ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
I agree with some of the other reviewers. The author gets lots of points for a great topic. Mixed race girl, whose father died before she was born, wants to feel connected to both sides of her background and struggles with feeling half white, half black, and never whole. There is plot tension in that her father's only surviving parent, her Africa-American grandmother, never accepted her white daughter in law and blames her for her sons death. However the writing could be tighter and there is too ...more
Mar 05, 2016 Kellean rated it liked it
Violet is a typical 11-yr old girl. She lives with her mom, sister, and grandparents in a suburb of Seattle. Her father died before she was born. Her father was black and her mom, half sister, and grandparents are white. Like any middle-school girl, Violet begins to struggle with her biracial identity, especially because everyone around her is predominantly white. This starts her off on her journey to find out more about her African American heritage. After doing some digging, Violet finds out t ...more
Jun 18, 2016 Georgene rated it liked it
Violet Diamond is a biracial 11 year old girl whose mother and sister are white and whose father was black. Her father died before Violet was born, and she has never met anyone from the African-American side of her family. She feels that a big part of her life is missing and she wants to know more about her father's side of the family. When Violet finally gets the chance to meet her grandmother, she goes to stay with her for a few days and finds out many things about her father that she never kn ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
Brenda Woods has written a moving story of a young girl's quest to understand her biracial heritage. Young Violet Diamond bravely decides to find out about her late father's family by reaching out to her artistic African American grandmother, Bibi. With an authentic narrative voice, Woods has created a beautiful family dynamic with Violet getting honest and loving answers to some heartfelt questions. The relationship between Violet and Bibi was especially touching and definitely had the reader w ...more
Dawnella Adams
Jun 08, 2015 Dawnella Adams rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Just when the story may start to drag there's a twist that keeps you wanting to know more. Really enjoyed reading an original story, yet one that many kids in today's world could relate.
Diamond Buchanan
Jan 16, 2017 Diamond Buchanan rated it it was amazing
This book was really a touching and more emotional story that you wish could just go on forever. It's about how life is between race and holding grudges and finding yourself, especially at a young age. I don't know why I usually read books that have something to do with my name, but they always turn out very interesting. Violet Diamond is a young girl that is mixed and lives with her mother and another sibling if I can remember this right. Her mom is white and her father was black. She never got ...more
May 19, 2014 Maria rated it it was amazing

*************Spoiler Alert************

Do you ever think how it would be not knowing anything about one side of your family? Well in this Realistic Fiction novel, Violet only knows her moms side of here family but not her dads side of her family. I really loved reading this book because it teaches you that even though if a part if your family doesnt know you, they will be willing to meet you and spend time together. I really enjoyed reading this book so much because it also teaches you that no ma
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I was hoping to enter it for the The Seasonal Reading Challenge here on GoodReads, but it fell below the required AR qualifications and I wondered why seeing how the book was about a biracial 11-year-old trying to learn about herself and to fit in. That seemed to me like it should rank higher on the AR list. Having since read the book, I now understand why it is not. It is written in a really simplistic way. It feels like it is written for a gro ...more
Michelle Glatt
Jan 12, 2017 Michelle Glatt rated it liked it
Violet Diamond, who is biracial, meets her African-American grandmother and other family for the first time, as they had been estranged from Violet's mother since her father's accidental death. This middle grade book will be appealing to girls; however, the story is not as strong as it might have been since the main conflict occurs before the book started.
heidi weber
Feb 01, 2017 heidi weber rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2017 Joan rated it it was amazing
Delightful story of putting the broken pieces of a family back together.
Cornell Poder
Have you ever
Miss Sarah
Oct 17, 2016 Miss Sarah rated it really liked it
I really liked this book about a young lady trying to discover her roots. Violet's dad died before she was born and his family hasn't ever meet her. When she becomes curious her mom reaches out and violet is introduced to a whole new world. Can she fit in? Does she want to? what about her old world? I thought this was very realistic to what actual kids that age would say.
Brenda Woods deals with a challenging topic quite well. Violet is a biracial child who only knows her mother's side of the family. She is in for all manner of surprises when she is allowed to know her father's side of the family. I LOVE the fact that Violet characterization from beginning to end "blossoms" as she does all these things to "fit in" with her mother's side of the family. Her mother feels that by teaching her African American history, etc---Violet is suppose to be 'above' confusion a ...more
Alex Baugh
Apr 25, 2014 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Sometimes it can be mighty hard to be biracial in the almost all white town of Moon Lake, Washington, especially when you are part of an otherwise all white family. Which is why more than anything, Violet Diamond, 11, wishes her dad hadn't died just before she was born. Maybe, if he hadn't been killed in that auto accident, people wouldn't look at her like she didn't belong to the family she's with - mom, a neonatal doctor, older sister Daisy and grandparents Gam and Poppy - the family that love ...more
Trinika Abraham
Dec 13, 2016 Trinika Abraham rated it it was amazing
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 incorp
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher (Family Fletcher, #1)
  • Kinda Like Brothers
  • The Turtle of Oman
  • Half a Chance
  • As Brave As You
  • Gone Crazy in Alabama (Gaither Sisters, #3)
  • The Sittin' Up
  • The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
  • Blackbird Fly
  • The Great Greene Heist (The Great Greene Heist, #1)
  • Fly Away
  • The Perfect Place
  • Nightingale's Nest
  • 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World
  • The Secret Hum of a Daisy
  • Life on Mars
  • The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
  • Star in the Forest

Share This Book

“No sense in chasing something that doesn't want to be caught" -Poppy” 1 likes
“Sounds to me like you're praying Violet, not wishing. When we wish, it's usually for something frivolous...Something not serious. Like what you want for your birthday. Prayers are for more serious things." -Mom” 1 likes
More quotes…