Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say

34506934Dominguez, Angela. Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
January 16th 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Stella, her brother and their radio executive mother live in Chicago. Stella's father lives in Colorado and does not get in touch very often. Stella loves learning about marine animals and has a betta fish for whom she enjoys caring. It's a tough year at school, since Stella's best friend Jenny isn't in her class anymore, and Stella is still seeing a speech teacher to work on her language skills, which are fairly solid but which could use some improvement and make Stella self conscious about speaking in class. She has to deal with a new boy in her class who is from Texas, learning that she is not a US citizen but rather an "alien" with a green card, and missing her family, many of who still live in Mexico City. Stella does her best to get ready for her class presentation despite her challenges because she does in deed have "something to say".
Strengths: Stella is a fun character, and seems very typical for a third grader. Being without her best friend is hard, and she worries that Jenny will make other friends. She misses her father, but realizes that he just isn't going to be involved in her life. She has a warm and supported relationship with her mother, who is doing her best to support her family. The school scenes strike me as realistic, and Stella's struggles with language are delicately and constructively described.
Weaknesses: I worry that this will be too young for many of my readers, although my struggling ELL population will enjoy the story, the length of the text, and the inclusion of pictures. I just wish there were a similar story with an 8th grade character, because most of my students do not want to read about a third grader.
What I really think: I will purchase for my readers who need easier chapter books that appeal to their own experiences.
Ms. Yingling

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