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Diamond Willow

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,741 Ratings  ·  413 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)
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Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: obob-2016, 2016
Diamond Willow is told through a series of narrative poems interspersed with prose chapters. The poems are from the viewpoint of the protagonist, and the prose chapters are from he perspective of other characters.

The poems are in the shape of a diamond, with words in bold in the center that form additional sentences. This is to mimic the look of diamond willow wood, which is a pretty cool idea.

However, I have a hard time with using format to try and add meaning to words. Would the bold words ha
Clare Lund
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Started a bit slow, but I really liked the ending. Written in a very similar style to Hidden by the same author, with the story told in verse with an additional message revealed on each page. Ages 8 and up.
Sam Bloom
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Goshen PL Childrens
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Hidden nuggets in every diamond shaped verse. I never knew about Diamond Willows but thanks to this book and its preface I do.

Thanks to Ryan for suggesting that I try it.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Diamond Willow was one of the best fiction books I have read for a long time! It was an extremely captivating book and made me keep turning the pages. It was a short read and the book was written as a concrete poem, with all the shapes being diamonds. I thought this was creative and made the book more interesting to read. Overall, the book was different from other books I have read and I advise people to read it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L13 Tracy Beling
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, mc-literature
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
Maureen Sheehan
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book. I couldn't get over how clever the author was by writing poetry within poetry. I found myself looking forward to turning each page and going right to the bolded words so I could figure out what was going to happen next (and what Willow was thinking). In addition to this unique and compelling literary element, the author told a great story. The main character, Willow, is so likable and you really found yourself cheering her on while she attempted to take the dogs (or mu ...more
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm reading Diamond Willow by Helen Frost. Imagine looking outside and seeing a blanket of sparkly white snow. In Diamond Willow a girl named Willow lives in Alaska and gets to see sparkly snow everyday. One day Willow goes to her grandmother's house with her dog Roxy and gets hurt because she slips on ice. The external conflict is that Willow doesn't want to listen to her parents about giving Roxy away.Her parents say she can never go to her grandmother's house again without them and that they ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
sarah gilbert
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
luminous and heart-striking and full of life and life-after-death, this book had me dripping tears through the rise and fall of its story arc, and still sniffling to the end. who writes likes this for children? it's a mother's tale, told through a twelve-year-old's eyes. they're always twelve, aren't they. and as willow comes of age, it's in a silent yearning for the true self that can only be found through solitariness, pain, ripping physical and emotional and terrifying. yet even alone, indepe ...more
Sep 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
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
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great book in verse! I really enjoyed the story of this girl who just isn't fitting in, but has a heart of gold. The book is set up in such a clever way, and I really enjoyed the spirit animals (I guess that is what you call them.) All this girl wants to do is take her sled dogs to grandma and grandpa's, but as with real life, things happen. This book will make you cry, and you won't see something coming. Sweet, heartbreaking, and full of feels. This is a story that needs to be read!
Becky Soledad
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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!
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.
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Patricia Powell
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, verse
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.
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.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Shawn Jaquiss
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-2016-obob
This was an excellent piece of juvenile literature. I loved the setting, the story, the style and the hidden messages.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really liked how it was written in a diamond shape. It's a meaningful book, with lots of loveable characters.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
“In the middle of my family in the middle of a middle-size town in the middle of Alaska, you will find middle-size, middle-kid, me.”

Diamond Willow, written by Helen Frost, is an engaging story written in free poetic verse. Diamond Willow received the 2009 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. The book, grounded in Native American traditions and cultural beliefs, tells a story of a special relationship between twelve-year-old Willow and her clever sled dog, Roxy. In particular, Willow feels ordinary
School Library Journal

When a diamond willow's bark is removed, sanded, and polished, it reveals reddish brown diamonds, the dark center of which are the scars of missing branches. Frost has used this image to craft an intricate family story in diamond-shaped verse.

In her small Alaskan town, 12-year-old Diamond Willow, named for the tree, prefers to be just "Willow" but muses that if her parents had called her "Diamond," "…would I have been one of those sparkly kinds of girls?" Instead she descr
I loved the concept of this book and the execution was flawless. The story is told in shape poems (types of diamonds). The narration is in the first person from the point of view of Willow, a young girl who lives in Alaska with her family and their beloved dogs. Willow is named after the Diamond Willow, a wood that when polished has diamonds, each with their own small dark centre. Each poem, which is diamond shaped, has a hidden message printed in darker ink at the centre. This is such a clever ...more
Cassidy Crawford
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
Diamond Willow is a realistic fiction book published in 2008 composed of narrative poems. The poems made the book a quick read and I enjoyed reading the message hidden in each poem it was like an extra treat. I think girls in fourth grade and up would enjoy this book, my sister has actually read it and enjoyed it herself. It does carry a good message that I could see making it a great book to read aloud just with all the other books out there I feel it would be better used as a group reading boo ...more
Robert Bussie
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful story about a tween and her dog has adventure, drama, the love of family, and light Indian mythology about reincarnation. It is a YA book that can be enjoyed by anyone who loves their pets and likes a sometimes sad but heartfelt story.

The diamond-like word patterns add fun and eye catching shapes to the book. It adds an enjoyable sense of whimsy to the physical aspects of the book.
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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.
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