Dyamonde Daniel ("... a gem waiting to be discovered") is an intelligent third grader who has no problem finding her way in her new school. She exudes self-confidence in solving any dilemma, and a new one has arrived in the form of Free, another new student. Free's father has lost his job and Free is not happy about having had to move to a new school. His unhappiness frightens his new classmates with the exception of Dyamonde. She is determined to find the source of Free's troubles and perhaps make a new friend.
Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, is a gem of an early reader chapter book. Without being too heavy, Ms. Grimes has created a character who, through her intelligence and humor, deals with issues (divorce, moving, making friends) that are familiar to students in my classroom. It is rare to find an early reader book with a lead African-American character, so find this book and share it.
This would make a great character study with female heroines (Judy Moody, Keena Ford, Ruby Lu).