Book Review: THE DIAMOND AND THE BOY

Written by Hannah Holt | Illustrated by Jay Fleck

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the technical aspects of this book. The experts are the book creators. My reviews are my opinions.

The support from the writing community is like no other. Strangers from around the world will cheer your biggest feats and smallest wins. Even a failure is a success because it puts you closer to meeting your goal! A select few will even give a big chunk of themselves to create invaluable, and sometimes life-changing, experiences for you. One of these experiences is Justin Colon’s #PBChat Mentorship Program.

In 2019, the inaugural year, I submitted an application to be mentored by an accomplished author. The #PBChat application was a beast. I had to reflect on things I thought I would never have to think about in my writing world, such as identifying SMART Objectives for my writing career! After my initial shock, I found it to be an enlightening experience. I highly recommend writing your own SMART Objectives for aspects of your career, no matter what you do!

I digress. While I poured my heart into my application, I knew there was a slim chance someone would select me as a mentee. That year, there were about 25 available mentors, 481 applicants, and 1500 submitted stories! Each applicant could apply to a maximum of four mentors.

On July 31, 2019, Justin revealed the winners. Throughout the day, he announced which applicants were matched to authors. Sometimes multiple applicants were matched to one author! The announcement process closed and…

I never saw my name.

While I was so thrilled for my fellow applicants who matched, I was a little disappointed I wasn’t selected as a mentee. Mixed in those emotions was a bit of relief. I wasn’t sure how I was going to dedicate three intense months of mentorship while I cared for a newborn in addition to my toddler. Nonetheless, I dusted myself off and got back to work! #ForeverOnward

Soon after, I received a Twitter alert that someone tagged me. It was Justin! He announced that I was a runner up to mentor Hannah Holt! Can I tell you…my heart jumped out of my chest like I actually matched with her! It wasn’t a technical win but it was still a huge accomplishment for me. It gave me a sweet boost and I will be forever grateful!

THE DIAMOND AND THE BOY is one of Hannah’s books.

Summary “Before Tracy Hall was an inventor, he was a boy – born into poverty, bullied by peers, forced to work at an early age. However, through education and experimentation, he became one of the brightest innovators of the twentieth century, eventually building a revolutionary machine that makes diamonds.”

Tracy Hall is Hannah’s grandfather. I love the fact that Hannah pays homage to her loved one because, like her, family is very important to me. I also appreciated that Hannah incorporated the conflict of blood diamonds in the African continent, briefly in the main text and more in depth in the back matter. As someone who appreciates science, it was a treat reading about Mr. Hall’s scientific accomplishments.

Technical Notes

Theme: Keep pushing through obstacles

Point of View: 3rd person

Tense: Present tense

Internal Journey: How to make a better life for himself

External Journey: How to make diamonds

Story Arc: Double man in the hole – modified. The beginning of the arc is slightly different than the usual understanding of this arc. Instead of starting the graph with a positive value, the graph should start at a neutral valve. This is because the story did not begin with Tracy struggling or living on top of the world.

Story Structure: The Mirror. It could also follow a “parallel” structure but I think there’s a bigger direct play on similarities between the diamond and Tracy. Hannah matches each element beat by beat but from a different perspective. The structure is also that of a “portrait.”

Story Start | End: Begins introducing the two characters, ending with the realization that they are the same.

Plot type: Purpose achieved. Tracy struggled to attain a goal.  

Pacing: The pace is slower as the [not-yet] diamond and Tracy follow the downward slope of the story arc/shape. The pace picks up as they rise out of conflict and through the use of ellipses and colons.

Dialogue: None. 

Illustration: Like the text, the illustrations on the two pages of a spread mirror each other.

Published by gpbellbooks

Picture Book Author

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