The Diamond and the Boy

A few weeks ago, author Hannah Holt shared her process of finding the heart of this story in my blog series “Mining for Heart.” Now, here’s a look at this gem of a picture book.

And don’t miss the epic giveaway going on – details below.

DiamondMan Final coverTitle: The Diamond and the Boy: The Creation of Diamonds and the Life of H. Tracy Hall

Written by: Hannah Holt

Illustrated by: Jay Fleck

Balzer + Bray, 2018

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/topics: perseverance, rocks & minerals, inventors



A ROCK named graphite,

A BOY named Tracy,


Before a diamond is a gem, it’s a common gray rock called graphite. Through an intense trial of heat and pressure, it changes into one of the most valuable stones in the world.

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.

Activities and Resources:

Examine the spreads that feature the boy opposite the diamond. What words or phrases are used for both? How are the meanings different? What other ways can you use the word/s?

Generate a list of other multiple meaning words. Choose one to write a sentence about yourself. Use a different meaning of the word to write a sentence about some activity or object that you are connected to.

Why I like this book:

This story has a really interesting structure – parallel stories of the boy and the diamond, using many of same words for both, side by side on each spread. The careful crafting using multiple meanings of words/contexts is very well done and the juxtaposition of two very different things is thought provoking. As a writer I think the structure of a narrative can impact understanding without any words. Kids will be surprised to learn how a man replicated the forces of nature to produce a diamond.

AND…Don’t miss this!


The authors and illustrators of the picture book debut group, Epic 18, bring you …

EIGHTEEN prizes – book pairings and book + gift packages

Posted on Twitter November 12 through Wed, November 20.

Search by hashtag #epic18win and enter by Retweeting original tweet.

Winners announced during Grand Twitter Event #epic18chat

hosted by Matthew Winner on Wed, Nov. 28, 5 pm EST.

Good luck!


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.


6 thoughts on “The Diamond and the Boy

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