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

Diamond Willow

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,954 ratings  ·  308 reviews
more to me than
most people

Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents’ house, by herself, with Ro
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanSavvy by Ingrid LawThe Underneath by Kathi AppeltThe Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
2009 Newbery Contenders
18th out of 70 books — 585 voters
The Magic of Finkleton by K.C. HiltonThe Seven Natural Wonders Of The EARTH by Anna OthitisMy First Travel Angelic Airline Adventures by Anna OthitisCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Cool Books for Grades 4-6
45th out of 511 books — 540 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The sentence "I told you so!" is deeply satisfying. Granted, the satisfaction you feel when you say it only lasts a minute or two, but for a little while, as you do your "I told you so" dance, you get to feel that thrill of vindication sweeping through your veins. I often feel this way when an author or illustrator I've liked over the years starts garnering a little more notice. Admittedly Helen Frost is maybe not the best example I could call up. After all, she won a Printz Honor a couple years ...more
Sam Bloom
I make a point of telling everyone who will listen that the best writers are children's/YA authors. The last two books I finished - The Underneath by Kathi Appelt and this one - are perfect examples. Books that are funny, heartbreaking, suspenseful, hopeful without crossing the line into sappiness... just beautifully written books.

Diamond Willow is written in a sort of prose, with 90% of the pages containing diamond-shaped text. Within each diamond-shaped page is a "hidden" message in bold print
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L13 Tracy Beling
I listened to this story on CD. It has received the following awards: Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award (Pennsylvania Center for the Book), Mitten Award (Michigan), and Texas Lone Star Reading Lists: 2009.

This is a story about a girl named Diamond Willow (she goes by Willow) who lives in Alaska. Willow sees herself as an average girl that doesn't stand out at all. She doesn't have many friends, but she loves her family's sled dogs. Unfortunately there is an accident while she has the dogs out and
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Aside from the fact that I don't believe all the pieces are poems (indeed, I don't think MOST of them are) so the author's claim (in her introduction) of these being "diamond shaped poems" does not gel with my perception of poetry, the book is really STRONG.

Of course, love the design and the hidden heart/message in each piece. Love the magical realistic spirited animals of the deceased. Love the surprising twists toward the end about Roxy/Diamond. Totally enjoyed the realism of this young girl's
Again, can't remember why I picked this book up. I've had it for over a month and finally decided to crack it open last night.
What a great little story. It's told in free verse with each page's words in the shape of a Diamond.
Even if you're not a free verse kinda reader, I recommend this.
Was not expecting to cry, but I did.
Twelve year old Willow doesn't feel very special..her best friend likes a boy better than she likes Willow and her dad seems to love his sled dogs more than her. When she finally convinces her parents to let her take the sled and dogs to her grandparents she is beginning to feel pretty special. Tragedy strikes along the way and Roxy's (her favorite dog) eyes are harmed. As she tries to do what is best for Roxy, Willow finds herself on a path that leads directly into a snow storm. Every page is w ...more
Ms. Rosas
When I first picked up this book I thought it was a very strange layout. Students love free verse novels but I was concerned that this layout would be difficult for them to follow. But once I started reading the book I realized that your eye just follows the lines automatically and the little hidden messages in each poem only added to your understanding of the story. So often we say when you listen to someone you have to hear what is not being said as well as what is and that is exactly what is ...more
Suzanne Dix
Absolutely extraordinary. The shape poems add to the uniqueness but it is the plot itself that is so engrossing.
Warning: have a tissue box at the ready! Grades 6 and up with universal appeal.

Roxy and Willow will stay with me for a long long time.
Fifth- and sixth-grade readers will like this story of a twelve year-old girl in Alaska whose error in judgment causes an accident that injures her sled dog, Roxy, while they are "mushing." The story is told in free verse poetry with the text on each page resembling a diamond shape. Although this concept could have been merely gimmicky, Frost is such a strong writer that the storytelling is enhanced by the free verse form.
Helen has a wondrous way with words.
This was a brief but touching tale of a young girl's coming of age - fun to read aloud to my 10yo because of an unusual, puzzle-like structure, the unusual landscape, and the surprising plot twists. It's on the spiritual side, but works nicely in capturing something about the unfamiliar Inuit culture. Recommend it!
May 28, 2013 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: faves
I loved this book. Completely, absolutely loved it. I must have read this book at least five times! The way each page was written in diamond poem form, along with the bolded words, really added to the story, in my opinion. Though I know that not all people would like it, I still recommend this book to pretty much everyone who's willing to try it.
I really liked how it was written in a diamond shape. It's a meaningful book, with lots of loveable characters.
Patricia Powell
I loved this book so much that now I must read everything that Helen Frost has written. The writing is so solid and the "puzzles" or secret bits only add to the experience. So often, something clever can distract and detract from the story. But this was inspired, all part of the whole.
Rita Bailey
Twelve-year-ild Willow has few friends but gets along with her father's dog team just fine. More than anything else, she wants to mush the dogs out--by herself--to her grandparents' house. Willow is a good musher, but on the Alaskan trails in the deep of winter, one mistake has far-reaching consequences.

Helen Frost tells this tale in a mixture of prose and diamond-shaped poems, just like the pattern on damaged willow branches. The point of view alternates between Willow and the animals spirits o
Very uniquely written in a diamond shape on each page, there is also a set of words bolded on each page that give a deeper message about the plot.
Gary Bernard
Willow is growing up. She lives in rural Alaska and she feels she is ready to visit her grandparents on dogsled alone. Things do not go as planned and one of their best dogs get injured. In the form of poems with hidden phrases, the readers gets an inside look into the mind of young willow and into the mind of some unique onlookers.

I totally recommend this book. It is simple, and beautifully written. There are some moments that address injury, danger, and death but each are handled simply, with
I loved this book, and it's one I will keep on my shelf forever. Yes, it's written for pre-teens, perhaps elementary school students, but I was so curious about the author's style--part narrative (told by different members of Diamond Willow's family, reincarnated, as is part of the Athabaskan belief system) and part poems, written in a diamond shape with bold-faced words to tell a specific point. The writing was simple, but the poems and the messages and the story itself were very compelling. An ...more
Martina Munoz
I didn"t like this book because I don"t get the book so much.I think that it was going to be about a girl that finds a baby wolf and she decide to take care of it. And when he grows up she has to find her a new place to live because when he grows up he can starts being like a real wolf. But is about a girl that her parents called her DIAMOND but she don"t like it because she said that she is not shiny she is not pretty so she don"t like to be called DIAMOND and then she finds a new friend..A wol ...more
Told in diamond-shaped poems, this is the story of 12-year-old Willow, a part-Athabascan girl (on her mother's side) who lives in a remote part of Alaska with her family in a tiny community where the only means of transportation are dog sleds and snow machines. Willow isn't very popular at school and tries to stay on the periphery, but she wants her parents to trust her and let her have more responsibility. Finally, her parents let her mush the dogs, led by her favorite, Roxy, alone to her grand ...more
Richie Partington
23 February 2008 DIAMOND WILLOW by Helen Frost, FSG/Frances Foster Books, April 2008, 112p. ISBN: 0-374-31776-3

"I saw so many things I barely recognized
I thought that I was lost but then I saw you.
I could be wrong, but I swear
That I knew you in another life.
And I could be dreaming, but I swear
That I knew you in another life." -- Todd Rundgren

"...I pack snow into the dog pot. Dad gets a good fire going
in the oil-drum stove. He loves these dogs like I do. We're
both out here on weekends, as much as
My family and I listened to this book on a road trip today. The tape fit our schedule perfectly, the book was two hours long and we finished it just as we arrived home.
It was an interesting read, but not my favorite. In the beginning there was some angst, which my mom and I both didn't like, but towards the end it got better. This story is about a girl living in Alaska, and she wants to mush the sled dogs to her grandparents house, alone. Then she makes a mistake and her favorite dog gets blind
Miz Lizzie
Dec 17, 2008 Miz Lizzie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 10-12 year olds
Half-Athabaskan, twelve-year-old Willow loves the sled dogs her father raises and trains and longs to be recognized as old enough to mush them by herself to her grandparents’ home in the bush. When she is finally allowed to do so, an accident on her way home starts a chain of events that force Willow to accept responsibility for her own actions while past secrets are revealed. The deep attachment between Willow and her sled dogs, especially Roxy, will touch the hearts of any young dog lover. Mos ...more
Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents’ house, by herself, with Roxy in the lead. But sometimes when it’s just you, one mistake can have frightening consequences... And when Willow stumbles, it takes a surprising group of friend ...more
Jun 05, 2010 Gillian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grade 6+
This book was written in a style that was unfamiliar to me, which made it very interesting to begin. Our school was lucky enough to have the authoress, Helen Frost come to our school, and that gave me more insight on what the book's format intended to show.

The book itself had a very attractive cover and a somewhat cliche title, which is, of course, Diamond Willow. Why would I say such a title is cliche? It's all too popular to name the book for something obvious that the book has to do with. It'
Willow decides to save her favorite sled dog, Roxy, after an accident leaves her blinded. This is a Howard County's 2012 Battle of the Books selection and when I read the description, I was deeply skeptical. Animal spirits that help and support Willow as she faces dangerous and challenging situations? And yet it works, mostly.

I LOVED the first half of the book -- Willow is finally allowed to take the dogs on a 12 mile run to her grandparent's house. After her favorite dog has an accident, she m
Diamond Willow is about a girl who lives in Alaska and loves dog sledding. There is symbolism in her name as her father saw a diamond willow stick before she was born. She is called Willow. Willow loves her dogs especially her family's favorite, the top sled puller, Roxy. Something bad happens to Roxy and Willow goes to extreme measures in attempt to save her. While this is a heart-warming story about a girl and her dog, there is something even more special and deep about their relationship. Wil ...more
In the interior of Alaska 12 year old Willow helps her father with their sled dogs. Willow is shy and considers the lead dog, Roxy, to be her best friend.
She has never taken the dogs out on her own but believes she can mush them to her grandparent's home 12 miles away. She wants her parents to realize she is not a little girl anymore and to listen to her and trust her. After an accident occurs on the trail Willow will have to face some difficult decisions and prove to herself and her family jus
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse
  • 42 Miles
  • Where I Live
  • All the Broken Pieces
  • Home of the Brave
  • The Great Wide Sea
  • Keeping the Night Watch
  • The Porcupine Year
  • Hate That Cat
  • The Mailbox
  • A Friendship For Today
  • The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano
  • Locomotion
  • Heart of a Shepherd
  • A Dog on His Own
  • National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
  • Shakespeare Bats Cleanup (Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, #1)
  • Aleutian Sparrow
I'm dipping my toes into goodreads to see how it works. Thanks for finding me here, and thanks to everyone who has read and written about my books. I love to know you're there, even if I don't come here too often to say so.

Helen Frost is the author of six novels-in-poems and two picture books for children and young adults. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
More about Helen Frost...
Hidden Keesha's House Step Gently Out Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War Crossing Stones

Share This Book