April 26, 2018

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Stella Diaz Has Something To Say by Angela Dominguez | SLJ Review

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redstarDOMINGUEZ, Angela. Stella Diaz Has Something To Say. 208p. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781626728585.

Gr 3-5 –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

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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