"Rich" has been chosen as one of the four Read Brave Saint Paul youth books. Best friends Dyamonde and Free are excited to learn about the library's poetry contest, and Free is determined to win. When they make friends with Damaris and learn she is embarrassed to live in a shelter, Dyamonde encourages her to submit a poem about her experiences. Straightforward and reassuring, this believable story highlights the stigma of homelessness and the power of friendship. Learn more at ReadBrave.org.
Bravo to Grimes for addressing some tougher topics so matter-of-factly and non-pityingly (this is not trauma lit) in a beginning chapter book that she makes it look easy. The first: one many might not think of as a tough topic, but one that I know is fraught with meaning for many who have grown up poor: shopping in secondhand stores. Dyamonde enjoys it, calls it treasure hunting, and can't imagine why you wouldn't want your clothes to have a past; her best friend, Free, is skeptical, but comes around after finding his idea of a treasure (not clothes, but a jar of marbles for 50 cents). The second: the fact that some schoolkids live in shelters, like Grimes's character Damaris, who runs from Dyamonde the day Dyamonde sees her walking out of a homeless shelter. Dyamonde's a thoughtful kid, while at the same time a direct one, never pretending away something she's observed. As she was at getting Free to open up about his anger in book one, in "Rich" Dyamonde's a natural at finding a way that feels safe for Damaris (who's tired of hiding but averse to anyone feeling sorry for her) to talk about her current life at the shelter. I liked this second book in the Dyamonde Daniel series even better than the first.
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