Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
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 In walks Free, a new student who’s so withdrawn and irritable that Dyamonde secretly names him Rude Boy.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.