Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
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Annotation: Stella Diaz wants to be friends with the new boy in class--but sometimes she accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja (red).
Catalog Number: #159655
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 202 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-626-72858-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-626-72858-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017944674
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Stella is shy and has trouble speaking up when she wants to say something, largely because she jumbles languages and can't find the right words. When her teacher assigns a project and an accompanying presentation, she starts to dread having to speak in front of her class, even if it'll be about a subject she loves (marine life!). To make matters worse, she wants to befriend a new boy in her class, but she can't work up the nerve to have a conversation with him. Things come together for her with help from her goofy older brother, encouraging mother, and her best friend. Stella shows everyone that she's stronger than she looks, just like a starfish. Simple black-and-white cartoons sprinkled throughout the text break up the story just right, as Stella works up the courage to finally speak up. Based significantly on her childhood, Dominguez's novel introduces a character many readers can relate to, especially bilingual kids or English-language learners who struggle with expressing themselves. An excellent, empowering addition to middle-grade collections.
Publishers Weekly
Picture book author-illustrator Dominguez (Sing, Don-t Cry) moves into middle grade with the story of Stella Díaz, whose family moved to Chicago from Mexico City when she was a baby. Now in third grade, Stella doesn-t always feel like she belongs, especially after she learns more about her resident status at school (-because of this green card, I-m an alien?-). Stella goes to speech therapy class to learn -how all the letters and words are supposed to sound in English,- but she finds it hard to speak up, especially when new student Stanley arrives in school. Stanley is complimentary of Stella-s artwork (one of her two passions, along with fish), but Stella feels extra shy around him. Drawing on her own childhood, Dominguez smoothly blends Spanish and English into the narration and dialogue, Stella-s Mexican-American culture fully informs her perspective and family life, and chunky spot art helps establish the setting. Readers should easily relate to Stella, her struggle to use her voice, and the way she feels caught between worlds at school and at home. Ages 6-9. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Jan.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 35 When Stella was a baby, her family moved from Mexico City to Arlington Heights, near Chicago, where Stella still lives with her divorced mother and supportive older brother. Stella struggles to pronounce English words and regularly attends speech therapy at school. She's not confident in her Spanish skills either; she never has the right words when her Mexican relatives visit. When Stella learns that she's an "alien" because she only has a green card, she wonders, "If I become a citizen, will I finally feel normal?" With the help of her family and friends, Stella learns to shine like the star she's named after as she deals with the class bully, survives her first spelling bee, and proudly aces her oral presentation. Realistic relationships ground this character-driven story; most notably, Stella's relationships with her loving mother and not-so-great, mostly absent father. School and home life feature prominently. Cultural markers, including food and music, are incorporated into the story just as naturally as the Spanish words explained in context. Dominguez's black-and-white spot illustrations are friendly and appealingly childlike, providing context and visual variety. According to the author's note, this story is "82.9 percent based" on Dominguez's childhood. Like Stella, Dominguez struggled with both languages, was born in Mexico, and had a Vietnamese best friend. VERDICT Fans of Clementine and Alvin Ho will be delighted to meet Stella. A first purchase. Amy Seto Forrester, Denver Public Library
Word Count: 26,895
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 194616 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 650L

The first middle-grade novel from award-winning picture book author-illustrator Dominguez, based on her experiences growing up Mexican-American, stars an infectiously charming character that comes to life through relatable storytelling and adorable black-and-white art throughout.

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