Dyamonde Daniel is a spunky 3rd grader who knows about life -- and is always trying to teach her best friend, Free. For example, she sets her friend straight when he complains about being too poor to buy a new video game. No, that's not being poor; that's just not having the money right now. Big difference! When their teacher announces a poetry contest sponsored by the local library, Free, a self-described 'poet who knows it,' is very excited, especially when he hears about the $100 prize. Dyamonde is more sedate. She prefers math to poetry. Dyamonde notices that shy, quiet Damaris also looks pretty excited about the contest. Damaris is a bit of a mystery; one that Dyamonde intends to solve. What she discovers about this girl surprises and saddens her. But leave it to the irrepressible Dyamonde to find a way to turn a bad situation into something lovely.
Published by Putnam Juvenile, 2009. 96 pages.
The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman
Oh, this was an absolute hoot! Miss Breakbone is one of those teachers who hates kids and lives to make their lives miserable. She is just a nasty piece of work. She derides her students as knowing-nothing dunderheads, confiscates their treasures and is just generally unpleasant. However, each of her students has a special talent of which she is totally unaware. And when she crosses the absolute line in the sand, those students band together and rise up and show the clever, resourceful stuff of which they are truly made. Kids will enjoy this short, easy-to-read tale of revenge. A 2015 Illinois Bluestem Award nominee.
Illustrated by David Roberts. pp. 56. Published by Candlewick Press, 2012.
Joanne Zienty is a school librarian, teacher, reader, writer and published author who firmly believes there are so many good books and not enough time to