Almost Zero: A Dyamonde Daniel Book by Nikki Grimes. Cybils nominee: Early Chapter Books.
I’ve now read three books by prolific author Nikki Grimes, and I’m becoming a fan. In Almost Zero, Ms. Grimes creates a character who’s lovable, fallible, and redeemable. Dyamonde wants a pair of red (her favorite color), high-top sneakers, and she wants them NOW! Acting on bad advice from a schoolmate, Dyamonde tells her mother, “I need red ones, and you have to get them for me.”
“You’re my mother, and mothers have to take care of their children, and you have to get them for me. It’s your job!”
Dyamonde’s mother responds with an interesting ploy, and the lesson begins. Yes, there is a lesson in this book, but the moral never overwhelms the story. Dyamonde is an engaging character with a basically compassionate nature, but it takes a reasoned response from mom and a tragedy with a classmate to get Dyamonde to see what’s really more important in life than red high-topped sneakers.
Among Nikki Grimes award-winning books, I have read The Road to Paris and A Girl Called Mister, both for older middle grade and young adult readers, and now this third book in the Dyamonde Daniel series. Ms. Grimes has also written a biography, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, multiple picture books, verse novels, and books of poetry.
*This book is nominated for a Cybils Award, and I am a judge for the first round thereof. However, no one paid me any money, and nobody knows which books will get to be finalists or which ones will get the awards. In other words, this review reflects my opinion and Z-baby’s and nothing else.