Author of the Month Brenda Woods

Author Brenda Woods
Source: Brenda Woods

Violet’s world blooms when she finally meets her father’s mother and discovers the African American side of her family in The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods, June’s Author of the Month.

Violet has always felt like a piece of herself is missing growing up as a bi-racial child in a white family. She loves her mother, sister and grandparents, but she wishes she could find out more about her dead father and the African American side of her family. When her wish comes true and she meets her estranged grandmother, will it be everything she’s ever hoped for? With warmth, compassion and humor, Violet finds her identity in both her families.

Questions and Activities

  • One of the major themes of this novel is discovering your family history. Use this simple family tree to investigate your own family history.
  • Violet has a notebook of places she wants to visit. What are some of the places you would like to visit? Find out about one or more of these countries or states.
  • When Violet goes to Seattle  to meet her grandmother, she sees the Space Needle. While in Los Angeles, Violet and her grandmother visit the Hollywood sign, the Theme Building, and Marina Del Rey. What are some famous places in Chicago? Have you visited any of them?
  • There are many names for grandparents in this book, from Poppy to Bibi. What do you call your grandparents? Where does the name come from?
  • Bibi lives in a neighborhood of south Los Angeles called Leimert Park. What neighborhood do you live in? What is the history of your neighborhood and what makes it unique?
  • Music is a large part of this book. Who were Jimi Hendrix, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Nancy Wilson?
  • The Diamond Family Sunday Feast is one of the family traditions Violet learns about when visiting her Bibi. What are some of your family’s traditions? Where did they come from?
  • Bibi is an artist and has a wind chime collection in her back yard. Make this simple wind chime for your house.
  • While visiting Bibi, Violet finds her great-grandmother’s Dream Book. Think about what would be in your Dream Book and then create one of your own?
  • Brenda Woods won a Coretta Scott King Honor for her novel The Red Rose Box. What is the Coretta Scott King Award? What other books have won this award?

Discover even more about Brenda Woods and her writing process.