Diamond Willow by Helen Frost

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Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents’ house, by herself, with Roxy in the lead. But sometimes when it’s just you, one mistake can have frightening consequences . . . And when Willow stumbles, it takes a surprising group of friends to help her make things right again.

Using diamond-shaped poems inspired by forms found in polished diamond willow sticks, Helen Frost tells the moving story of Willow and her family. Hidden messages within each diamond carry the reader further, into feelings Willow doesn’t reveal even to herself.

Diamond Willow is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

About Helen Frost

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Helen Frost is the author of several books for young people, including Hidden, Crossing Stones, The Braid, and Keesha’s House, selected an Honor Book for the Michael L. Printz Award. Helen Frost was born in Brookings, South Dakota, the fifth of ten children. She recalls the summer her family moved from South Dakota to Oregon, traveling in a big trailer and camping in places like the Badlands and Yellowstone. Her father told the family stories before they went to sleep, and Helen would dream about their travels, her family, and their old house. “That’s how I became a writer,” she says. “I didn’t know it at the time, but all those things were accumulating somewhere inside me.”  As a child, she loved to travel, think, swim, sing, learn, canoe, write, argue, sew, play the piano, play softball, play with dolls, daydream, read, go fishing, and climb trees. Now, when she sits down to write, her own experiences become the details of her stories. Helen has lived in South Dakota, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Scotland, Colorado, Alaska, California, and Indiana. She currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her family.
Published April 1, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 128 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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When her first solo dogsled trip to her grandparents ends with a terrible crash that blinds her father’s favorite dog, Roxy, she sets to making sure that Roxy will live out her days with care and not undergo euthanasia—a decision that leads to an amazing revelation about her family.

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School Library Journal

A diamond willow branch is pretty special but middle schooler Diamond Willow, named after the natural wonder, doesn’t feel very special at all.

May 09 2008 | Read Full Review of Diamond Willow

Youth Services Book Review

Through the use of concrete poetry, Diamond Willow tells the story of a little girl living in a small Alaskan town with her family and their dogs.

Aug 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Diamond Willow

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