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Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
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Audio Book

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
(Book 1 in the Dyamond Daniel series)
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Putnam, 2009

About the Book

Dyamonde Daniel may be new in town, but that doesn’t stop her from making a place for herself in a jiffy. With her can-do attitude and awesome brain power she takes the whole neighborhood by storm. The only thing puzzling her is the other new kid in her class. He’s awfully grouchy—but Dyamonde’s determined to get to the bottom of his frowning attitude and make a friend. Readers will fall in love with Dyamonde Daniel, the spirited star of a new series by Nikki Grimes. With her upbeat, take-charge attitude, Dyamonde is a character to cheer for—and the fun, accessible storytelling will hook kids from the first page.

You'll enjoy the other books in the series:
Rich: a Dyamonde Daniel Book (Book 2)
Almost Zero: a Dyamonde Daniel Book
(Book 3)
Halfway to Perfect: a Dyamonde Daniel Book
(Book 4)

From the Book

Dyamonde Daniel was a gem waiting to be discovered. Just ask her.

So what if she had wild-crazy hair and was skinnnier than half a tooth-pick On the inside, she was extraordinary. Plus super smart. As a matter of fact, she had more brains in her tiny pinky than most kids have in their whole entire bodies.

When Dyamonde was a little kid, she had to keep that to herself. Why? 'Cause her mom said her being super smart was a family secret. "So you can't tell anyone," said her mom.

" Puleeze," thought Dyamonde. Give me a break!

from Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
© 2009 by Nikki Grimes

Awards and Honors

2010 CCBC Choices list
2011-2012 Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominee
2012-2013 Massachusetts Children's Book Award nominee
2011-2012 Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice master list


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. Read the entire review. —Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production

“What’s the matter with the new boy?” wonders third grader Dyamonde Daniel. Free always looks angry and never talks in class, only communicating in grunts. Dyamonde knows what it feels like to be new: her parents’ divorce caused her to relocate from Brooklyn to Washington Heights. Yet her friendly overtures are rebuffed each time. When Free scares one of the little kids in the lunchroom, Dyamonde has had enough and confronts him about his grouchy behavior. It turns out that the classmates have much in common, including their unusual names and a longing for their old schools and friends. Dyamonde, smart, assertive, wild-haired, and “skinnier than half a toothpick,” is a memorable main character, though she sometimes sounds too mature for her years. Yet her actions and feelings ring true. Christie’s illustrations flesh out the characters, and along with patterned page borders, contribute child appeal. This is a promising start to a new series of transitional chapter books; suggest it to readers who enjoyed Karen English’s Nikki & Deja (Clarion, 2008), another early chapter book about the ups and downs of friendship between two African-American students. —Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR, School Library Journal

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, Booklist

Audio Book Review: 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, School Library Journal

Audio Book Review: Dyamonde Daniel is tired of being the new kid in school. She misses her best friend, her old school, and her old neighborhood. So when even newer new kid Free comes to her school, Dyamonde immediately sees possibilities. The only problem is that Free is the grumpiest third-grader Dyamonde has ever seen. Could this angry kid really be the new best friend that Dyamonde is looking for?

This series of chapter books for younger readers is off to a great start. The characters are well-developed and the plot is entertaining. Kids will like Dyamonde and find her relatable.  Nikki Grimes does an excellent job capturing Dyamonde’s voice, both as author and narrator. Her reading of her own work is flawless and lively. —Kelley Hanahan, Sound Commentary

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