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The Buddha's Diamonds

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  118 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
After a storm engulfs his village, a Vietnamese boy has glimmers of a new calling in this spare middle-grade novel written with authenticity and grace.

Every day, Tinh heads out to sea with his father to catch fish for their family and the market. While he may miss his simple life, flying kites with other children on the beach, Tinh is proud to work alongside Ba. Then a fie
Paperback, 112 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Candlewick Press (first published February 12th 2008)
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Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grades-4-6
I've enjoyed several books by the author, for their glimpse into other cultures. This one didn't quite make it. A young Cambodian boy learns about responsibility after the family's boat is damaged in a storm. The story just didn't get off the ground--we don't empathize with the characters and the foreign culture and introduction of Buddhism just don't grab hold. I can't imagine any child understanding or liking this story.
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
I had really high hopes for this book, but the message and symbolism was too heavy-handed for my liking. It was an intriguing look at another culture, but that wasn't enough to carry the book into greatness.
Marsden had to tell this short tale and I can understand why. After a devastating storm, a tale of dedication to family and religion helped them come back to enjoy living once again.
Sevan  Sarkhoshian
I chose the book "The Buddha's Diamond" because it seemed like a book that I have never read. The book indeed was not a book that I usually read. This book talked the life style of a villager during the ancient time. The books moral is about a boy who is becoming at a age where he has to take responsibilities, and the obstacle he has to go through in order to get his father’s trust. The main character Tinh always goes with his father to the sea to catch fish for food and money. On one day an ext ...more
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children
Shelves: juvenile
I feel evil rating it 2 stars, but I really didn't feel anything for it. Of course, it was intended to be in the children's section so perhaps I had no business picking that small, thin book up, but I was interested (and I don't believe in reading by age). The simple writing was nice for a while until it got a little bland. The plot of a boy choosing a toy red car (remote-controlled!!) over the boat that secured the family's living, then regretting and making amends was sweet but it just doesn't ...more
Marsden writes a story based on the childhood experiences of Vietnames immigrant Thay Phap Niem (co-author). They present a sweet little tale about a boy named Tinh who is caught between childhood interests and pleasures and the adult responsibilities of helping his father fish as a source of income. One day a storm comes of greater strength than he's ever seen, and he repeatedly is faced with choices: do I respond as a child or do I respond as a man? Less than 100 pages in a book that's sized l ...more
Mandi Ellsworth
The children and I read this one together. It's about a little fishing town in Vietnam and a boy trying to behave like a man. It's a fascinating look at another culture and set of beliefs. The kids said it was kind of scary because of the big storm that sweeps through and decimates the village, but we persevered anyway because I wanted to see how it ended. I also thought it was important because it shows how other people live. I love the idea of all the things we take for granted in our lives li ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I realize what the author was trying to do with this story, but it didn't quite do it for me. The "Buddha's diamonds" are all the positive, good things in your life. Young Tinh has to learn to count his blessings, or "diamonds", when a bad storm tears through his village in Vietnam and destroys much of the family's food supply and their boat by which they make a living. I did enjoy the description of life in a Vietnamese fishing village, which was fascinating. But I'm not sure that young readers ...more
Fred Kohn
Jun 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-people
I'm a sucker for everything on this book's exterior: it's small physical dimensions, beautiful cover (green is my favorite color), exotic, intriguing title. Of course, they say you can't judge a book by its cover, and that was true in this case. On occasion the descriptive writing about nature, especially the storm, was nice; but overall the story wasn't very interesting. I never really felt connected to the main character or any other character for that matter. Two and a half stars, with an ext ...more
Interesting tale based on a true story. A young boy's encounter with Buddha during a cyclone in his village which teaches him that he can be happy no matter what the circumstances are. Gives a good portrayal of the life of a fishing village in Vietnam. I read it because of the 'conversion' experience of the boy. But I am confused about Buddhism as the villagers pray to Buddha and Bodhavista to save them from the storm. Yet in the back of the book the author says that Buddha is not a god but a pe ...more
A quick novella about a young Vietnamese boy and his fisherman family dealing with a cyclone that tears up their region, a short while after the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Apparently based on a true story. I think that children as young as third grade might be able to handle it. Overall, not bad. This author seems to specialize on short stories about Asia and young characters dealing with some aspect of life. I picked this one up from a community library handout program while doing laundry a ...more
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid little story. It has some wonderful themes, lovely similies, and the potential to be so much more. This last fact is what kept me from scoring it higher, as I felt the pace was simply too fast. I understand it's for a younger audience, and even more, that the whole of the story takes place within a few days, but because all of the pieces were there, I wanted them expanded and further developed so that I could truly feel Tinh's growth and emotional turmoil.

Still, it's a quick read
Dustin Keller
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite liked this little book. It was a breath of fresh air from the tumultuous drama f the heroes and heroines of contemporary kid lit that I have been reading. The inner voice, the reflective voice... Do I dare say... the 'mindful voice', of the the main character like a Buddhist kohen asking us to think beyond the story into our own lives.
This book will stay with me, in my mind, in times of trouble, to remind me that I can find the Buddha's diamonds all around me if I have the presents of m
May 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kiddie-lit
What a lovely story of a boy coming to grips with his new adult responsibilities. Like many of us, he fails, but he persists in trying to prove himself to his family and to himself. His faith is an integral part of who he is. I really like that. I also was very pleased to know that the story is based upon one of the co-author's experiences.
My daughter picked this out for me from her school library because she thought I would enjoy it. It was a sweet little book about responsibility and growing up that takes place in Vietnam after the war. Although I enjoyed talking to her about the story, it didn't seem like a book that would grab a third grader's interest.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: upper elementary/ middle school
A short, sweet, moving coming of age story about a 10 year old Vietnamese boy. A great introduction to the culture and spirituality of this rich culture, as well as an age appropriate peek at the horrors of war. Recommend for both girls and boys.
Set in a small fishing village in Vietnam, on the eve of a devastating storm. Tinh is charged with securing the family fishing boat at the height of the storm, but fails.

A simple gentle story for Young Adults, with an uplifting message.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
This is a beautiful, though very short, little story taking place some time after the Vietnam War. The dharma talk about Buddha's diamonds in the beginning is infused throughout the tale, and I found it very moving.
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth
Tinh and his family depend on the small boat he and his father take out to sea every day to catch fish. And when a massive storm comes and wreaks the boat, the family's livelihood is threatened. Coming of age story for a young Vietnamese boy.
Mrs. Hoisington
The center of the story is an extended metaphor about Buddha's Diamonds and what parts of life are of true value. The author shares a simple allegory about life in Vietnam--quick and easy to read. :)
Leslie Barberie Blount
This was very serious for such a short book. I guess they are trying to give the feeling of their place and time in Vietnam. I felt bad for Tinh because he feels so responsible for everything when he can't really control it. Only for serious boys and girls.
Feb 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, youth

A beautiful simple tale. A meditation in story form.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a little bit more about the Vietnamese culture. Enjoyable for a 6-9 grade student
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elizabeth, harriette
A sweet book that reminds us what is important in life.
Sharyl Renner
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple and sweet coming of age story.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
A bit simplistic, but nice.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For children around 9-11.
Taking on the subject of Buddha, what a perfect book to introduce another religion. Names were tough, but nice story.
A gentle tale reminding us to find the blessings and beauty around us despite difficulties and even disasters. We enjoyed the quiet, simple journey of Tinh.
Pat Knight
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Vietnam, this story is a thoughtful journey into adulthood for a young boy.
May 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese
Quick easy read of a young boy coming of age and learning what is importaint in life .... precious diamonds so to speak.
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Carolyn Marsden was born in Mexico City to missionary parents. She has been a writer all her life, but THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS is her first book. About THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS she says, "I wrote this story when my half-Thai daughter was being teased at school. As a parent and elementary school teacher, I watched her struggle to establish a cultural identity. I became fascinated with a conflict tha ...more
More about Carolyn Marsden...
“From the mud of adversity grows the lotus of joy” 8 likes
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