Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes
Perma-bound is calling this a Guided Reading Level K which makes you wonder if Perma-bound has ever seen an actual Level K book. (Hint: Henry and Mudge and Frog and Toad are what I think of when I think of Level K). I’ve seen this listed as a Level N elsewhere. So I think it’s fair to say it is probably about the right level for a Level M reader.
Dyamonde’s life is not quite as she’d like it. She recently moved because of her parents recent divorced and she’s having a tough time making friends. Sure, other girls are nice enough, but they aren’t really inviting her into their group and she really misses her best friend Alisha. But she soon forgets all about her own isolation because the new boy, Free is even more of an outsider than she is. And unlike Dyamonde, he isn’t even trying to get along. He’s just scowling and grunting and scaring off other kids just by being big and looking mad all the time. Dyamonde decides to confront him about his sour mood and before long, she finds that she and Free get along just fine.
I like Dyamonde’s demeanor and I like her friendship with Free. It’s great to see a character get caught up in someone else’s problems and forget about herself for awhile. The librarian at my former school says that these just don’t circulate as much as she’d like, but I can’t see why.
Age Recommendation: While this is on level for a third grader, I would say this holds interest for advanced readers in lower grades as well as fourth graders who are reading below grade level. Dyamonde’s situation is one that kids of all ages can relate to.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – “dumb”,
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.