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Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel (A Dyamonde Daniel Book) Paperback – March 4, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Dyamonde Daniel Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Dyamonde, a third grader, is still coping with her parents' divorce and the subsequent move to a new neighborhood. She misses old friends and is trying to find her spot in a new school. When a new boy, Free, joins her class, she tries to be friendly, but is quickly shut down. What's going on with that boy? It's like he's trying to make everyone hate him. Dyamonde is a take-charge kind of girl who isn't willing to take "no" for an answer. Over time, the two African-American children discover common threads in their lives and gradually become friends in Nikki Grimes's beginning chapter book (Puffin, 2010), the first title in a projected series. Read by the author with gentle humor, this delightful book will find an audience with the Junie B. Jones and Clementine set.—Teresa Bateman. Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA
(c) Copyright 2011.  Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Smart, confident Dyamonde sits in her third-grade classroom and wonders why she’s been at her new school for weeks and still doesn’t have a best friend. In walks Free, a new student who’s so withdrawn and irritable that Dyamonde secretly names him Rude Boy. When plucky Dyamonde challenges Free, he begins to open up and slowly becomes a friend. Any child who is a “new kid” could benefit from contrasting the two main characters: Free tends to look backward to his old life and inward to his emotions, while Dyamonde looks forward to a new best friend and outward to the people and possibilities of her new neighborhood. Clean, direct prose and strong, clear characterizations make this an appealing early chapter book, while Christie’s stylized, dynamic drawings give it a fresh look. A welcome addition to the steadily growing list of beginning chapter books with African American protagonists, this is a promising start for the Dyamonde Daniel series. Grades 2-4. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 0620 (What's this?)
  • Series: A Dyamonde Daniel Book (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142415553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142415559
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Early chapter books are a pistol. You'd think they were printed on pages of silver and gold the way publishers dole them out on their lists. For those kids transitioning from early readers to 200+ page tomes, early chapter books are hugely important. So when I find a good one I latch onto it my teeth, lock my jaw, and don't let go. Sadly, of these books I could probably count on one hand the number of early chapter readers that star characters that are contemporary African-Americans. Let's see, books by Ann Cameron, Karen English, and now Nikki Grimes. Meet Dyamonde Daniel. You'll be happy that you did.

She's a third grader with "wild-crazy hair" and who happens to be "skinnier than half a toothpick." She's also brilliant and fun, but Dyamonde Daniel has a definite problem on her hands. What she really wants and needs is a best friend, and there don't appear to be any takers in her new school. Then, one day, another new kid comes to her class, and his name is Free. The problem? Free is just the grumpiest, mopiest, rudest kid Dyamonde has ever met. Before she knows it, she's interested in what his problem is. And in a mere 74 pages she has not only cheered him up, she's found herself an unexpected new friend.

I don't mean to make broad generalizations, but when reading early chapter books there are certain ideas and themes that just don't make an appearance all that often. What I like about "Dyamonde Daniel" is that this isn't a story about some girl who lives in the suburbs and has her own room and puppy. Dyamonde has slept on the couch ever since her parents split up and her mom had to move to Washington Heights. The book deals with issues like unemployment, divorce, lack of apartment space, and having to move in with relatives.
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Format: Hardcover
"Dyamonde Daniel was a gem waiting to be discovered. Just ask her." So begins this delightful tale about this smart, friendly, confident girl. Dyamonde (pronounced "Diamond") has a head full of "wild-crazy" hair and is "skinnier than half a toothpick," but on the inside "she was extraordinary."

Dyamonde is also new to her school, and despite her obvious intelligence and outgoing personality, she has yet to find a new best friend. Sure, Tanya, Tylisha and Tameeka (a group of girls Dyamonde refers to as the "Three T's") are nice enough to her, but she just doesn't fit in with their little social group.

Reed Freeman, who calls himself "Free" for short, is also a newcomer at the school. He doesn't have any new friends either, but that's because he's so mean to everyone. He walks around all the time with his head down. If anyone speaks to him, he either ignores them, growls at them, or simply glares at them. He keeps to himself and doesn't want to socialize with other students.

Dyamonde doesn't like Free's attitude. One day during lunch, when Free is picking on a smaller kid in the lunchroom for no good reason, Dyamonde decides to confront him. She walks right up to him and asks, "What is your problem?" Free is startled by her question and responds, "Who says I got a problem?" Dyamonde reads him the riot act about the way he has been treating the boy. She demands that Free apologize to him, which he does.

But that's not good enough for Dyamonde. She keeps an eye on Free after that. Every time he growls at someone, she glares at him. Whenever he yells at someone, she steps in front of him and stares him down until he apologizes. After a few days of this, Free does his best to avoid everyone, especially Dyamonde.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very cute book with a good story. It's great for third and fourth grade readers. It's a story that a lot of kids will be able to relate to, whether they have personally experienced events like it or their friends have. I recommend this book for anyone with an elementary school or middle school kid.
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My 7-year old completed the book in three reading sessions. She stayed up later, under the blankets with a book light, because she could not wait to see the ending. Her favorite theme throughout the book was Dyamonde's willingness to help the new kid, Free, adjust to his new school. She liked the idea of one kid, with her own problems, helping another.

The author Nikki Grimes handled the issues of divorce and separation incredibly well. The book sparked a discussion between my daughter and me about divorce. One of her friends at school is experiencing the difficulties of divorce. Dyamonde's experience helped to shape my daughter's understanding of how kids deal with this complex situation. The book, in the end, was a joy for my daughter to read, while helping her conceptualize some of life's complicated experiences.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did do a lot of research before I purchased this book. My young friend is reading a book a week and writing a report. I was told her eyes lit up when she saw her books, which included "Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel (A Dyamonde Daniel Book)." I wanted her to have the entire series of the Dyamonde Daniel books. I thank you for writing this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't normally write reviews as they are so subjective and sometimes very misleading. However, I am a huge fan of illustrator R. Gregory Christie and have many of his books. They are amazing, and part of that artistic excitement is his use of bold color. This book is the first book I've seen by him that is not only an unusually small in size children's book, but the illustrations are in black and white and wow - what a shock, and not in a good way. Maybe this whole Dyamonde Daniel series is like this; I just did not know. If I had, I might have had second thoughts about purchasing. But I got it used and inexpensive, so it was not too painful upon receipt. It would be helpful if it was mentioned in the description that the illustrations are not in color.
UPDATE 4/4/13: I want to give a more balanced review. I did actually read this book last night. It is very sweet and teaches our young readers compassion and perspective. The entire Dyamonde Daniel series most likely offers children many more positive ways to handle the ups and downs of life. Recommended reading even without the wonderful uplifting bright colors of Mr. Christie's art.
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