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Stella Diaz Has Something to Say

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  83 reviews
In her first middle-grade novel, award-winning picture book author and illustrator Angela Dominguez tells a heartwarming story based on her own experiences growing up Mexican-American.

Stella Diaz loves marine animals, especially her betta fish, Pancho. But Stella Diaz is not a betta fish. Betta fish like to be alone, while Stella loves spending time with her mom and brothe
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  279 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Ms. Yingling
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stella Diaz feels like an outsider: her best friend is no longer in the same class; she's terrified of public speaking; a school bully is fixated on her; she's a legal alien, but she is not a full citizen; she wants to befriend new-to-school Stanley; and her father is kind (when he's thinking of her family), but is mostly absent from her life. There's a part of Stella's life that will resonate with any reader, marking Dominguez's first foray outside of picture books as a smart and captivating re ...more
Gloria Mackay
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a delightful book! Immigration, reading, public speaking, making friends - from a creative, articulate child who gets tongue-tied! Estrella (Stella) loves fish, especially the starfish as well as that cool librarian with purple hair.
Mary Vondra
My rationale for using the time capsule alternative format is that it allows students who may struggle with writing a different method to express what they know. In addition, a tactile or kinesthetic learner may prefer this type of assignment. Especially if they will be sharing their work with others. This would be one of several options I would provide, then students would choose what they would like to complete. According to Bridget Dalton and Dana L. Grisham (2013), “ What makes the differenc ...more
Nancy Kotkin
A Latino third-grader confronts her shyness in order to fit in at school. The protagonist is only in third grade, and the conflicts are very gentle, appropriate for a chapter book audience. The voice is too young for middle grade readers. Although the story is focused on a central conflict (Stella's overwhelming introversion), there is no progressions of rising dramatic tension; the book reads more like a collection of vignettes than a novel. Spanish words and phrases, and a lot of Mexican food, ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this from #netgalley to review.

For fan’s of Clementine and Gooney Bird Greene, Stella Diaz is an eight year old with a lot of heart. She is shy and worried about her “alien” status. She’s bullied but learns to rise above. She’s incredibly creative and curious and loves learning all she can about marine life. Her parents are divorced and her father doesn’t always know the best way to connect with Stella and her brother, Nick. Her mother works hard and always has just the rig
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great read aloud about an immigrant girl who finds her voice.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Inspired by the author's own childhood experiences as a young immigrant. If you love Clementine and Alvin Ho, you'll adore Stella.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This book is great! It definitely fills in many holes; green card holders, divorced parents, making new friends, being shy, being bilingual. I would recommend this to well-read 2nd graders-3rd grade. Can't wait to share Stella with my patrons!
Mary Sanchez
Stella Diaz, a third grader, lives with her divorced mom and older brother Nic in Chicago. They moved here from Mexico three years ago. Stella struggles with both Spanish and English sounds and thus is in a speech class, but also struggles with shyness; and now the class is assigned a five minute oral presentation on an animal. What will this creative girl have to say?

Newly independent readers will be attracted to the book cover and the book size. It looks very grown up, yet has multiple black a
Afoma Umesi
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great chapter book that is perfect for beginning readers and a middle grade audience! I really loved Stella and her lovable Mexican family. The sprinkling of Spanish words throughout the book makes for an authentic reading experience. This book would also be perfect for a read aloud.

Definitely recommend!
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-kid-lit, netgalley
For middle grade readers of realistic fiction, Stella Diaz is a wonderful character. She is smart, but shy. She worries over speaking in front of others because her words come out wrong sometimes, even though she has been in speech class for three years. Part of her confusion comes from the different sounds that letters make in Spanish and in English; even though her family moved to Chicago from Mexico City when she was very young, those sounds are still giving her trouble in the third grade. An ...more
“You know, Stella, someone can only make you feel bad if you let them. It’s just words.”

Stella is a third grader who likes to keep a low profile. She's often hesitant to speak up because “sometimes I mix up the way words or letters sound, and when I do I turn roja like a tomato.” Her family moved from Mexico City when Stella was just a baby, so all the members of her family speak fluent Spanish, too. Sometimes Stella feels like she doesn't even fit in with her own family.

One day at school, her
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars

STELLA DIAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY is a delightful story that will appeal to readers who love books like Jasmine Toguchi, Cilla Lee-Jenkins, and Krista Kim-Bap.

In this story, Stella misses having her best friend, Jenny, in her class. It’s easy to talk to Jenny, but sometimes in front of of other people, Stella’s words don’t come out right. She might use a Spanish word instead of an English one, and so Stella prefers to stay quiet. But there’s a new boy in her class that she’d like to ge
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Stella Diaz is convincing as a 3rd grader in a school where she is trying hard to find her way. It's tough for her, since she has trouble speaking up in front of her classmates, a common issue for many kids. Growing up in a family of Mexican heritage, where her Mother and relatives speak Spanish together, and her brother born in Mexico, speaks Spanish fluently, and her parents are divorced, she struggles to fit in. However when a new student arrives, she is full of hope. Stella's heritage is ski ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stella Diaz loves fish and underwater life, loves spending time with her mom and brother, and loves spending time with her best friend Jenny. She's also incredibly shy and can't find the words she wants to use, so she tends to stay quiet, afraid she'll speak Spanish instead of English, or pronounce her words wrong. Either way, she's made fun of by the class Mean Girl. When her teacher assigns presentations that means Stella will have to speak in front of the class - including the new boy that sh ...more
Amber Webb
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say will reach a unique audience. A transitional chapter book told from the point of view of a child alien (not from this country) who also struggles with speech and language development. The voice of this book provides perspective from an often under represented point of view. We need more books such as this one. Stella is an elementary age student who deals with the normal struggles of this age with the addition of speech troubles. I had a difficult time reading th ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Third-grader Stella lives with her mother and older hermano (brother) in Chicago. Stella struggles to fit in as a Mexican-American girl who doesn’t speak Spanish fluently yet has to spend time with a speech teacher because she has trouble with English pronunciation. Worse, her best friend was assigned to another classroom. She is hopeful for a new friend when she hears a new student will be joining her class but her shyness makes it hard for her to get to know Stanley. Over the course of the sch ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, read-2018
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley*

I really enjoyed this little chapter book. I think my students will enjoy it, as well. Stella is a very relatable little girl. She is a pretty good student, and a great artist, but is in speech therapy and struggles with her Spanish although her mother and brother are fluent. She struggles with shyness, and is terrified to speak in front of groups. She even has to deal with a mean girl (although the mean girl is pretty mild co
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stella is a young hispanic girl, who was born in Mexico but lives in the US with her mom and brother. She is learning how to deal with life after her parents divorce, as she struggles with fitting in and making friends in school. She has a speech issue, and is teased about not talking in class. A new boy moves in, and Stella is afraid to get to know him an show her true self to him. Like the starfish, that Stella studies about for her class presentation, she learns that anyone can go through hur ...more
Margaret Boling
12/28/2018 ~ I had so much hope for this book, as I considered my elementary readers. In the first 50 pages, I was hooked, especially as I read the poignant pages where Stella realized that she is technically an "alien" (in a legal, immigration sense). However, as I read further, I found that the voice didn't work for me. Rather than feeling like I was a reading the voice of an 8 year old, I felt that the voice was that of an adult looking back. (Which, since the author explains that the story i ...more
Meag McKeron
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv-fiction
Stella was such a lovable character and one that I think many young kids will find ways to relate to. She has so many thoughts in her head but is extremely shy. Born in Mexico but raised in America, she sits in the middle of two cultures and two languages, making her feel constantly out of place. The author mentions in her afterword that Stella's story is very similar to her own childhood, which I think gave the book a very authentic feel. The illustrations that accompanied the book were also a ...more
Sean Kottke
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, ya, childrens
I enjoyed this middle grades novel immensely. Estrella tells her story in a charming voice not unlike that of Sandra Cisneros' Esperanza or the narrator of "Eleven." This novel's singular achievement is how it compactly weaves together so many middle grades concerns in an authentic manner: making friends, overcoming social anxiety, coping with bullies, challenges with biliteracy development and oral language, scaffolding learning and development through pursuing a passionate interest, embracing ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grades
Based on the author's own experiences growing up Mexican-American. Stella struggles with some language sounds and fears being laughed at by her classmates. She has a supportive mother and brother and best friend who encourage her. She tries being brave and expands her friend circle to include other girls in her class as well as the new boy who just moved to her town. She finds ways to handle the class bully along the way. She also finds the courage to do the oral presentation on sea life for her ...more
Joy Givens
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Angela Dominguez uses a beautiful young-middle-grade voice to tell a sweet, smart, well-composed story. I read it very quickly and enjoyed every page! I particularly admired how Dominguez trusts English-only readers to follow the Spanish interspersed through the text. It never feels inserted, but flows very naturally and showcases the impact languages have on Stella. And the security of her relationships with her mother and brother give the story a great heart, especially for young readers. Tota ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-juvenile
This was really sweet. Perfect to hand to all sorts of young elementary schoolers: kids dealing with a bully, shy kids, kids dealing with speech, language, or even learning disorder issues...and, of course, kids who are exploring their cultural identities. Stella encapsulates a lot of things at once without it feeling forced, and her supporting cast is great. Lots of wonderful tidbits - on everything from the ocean to Frida Kahlo - are woven in, too, for kids like Stella who love to learn and sh ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful little book! Stella deals with living between two different worlds. She feels she doesn't fit in with either her family in Mexico or her friends in the United States. In spite of the difficulties she faces, she has a loving relationship with her brother and mother and a great best friend. Her character grows in strength throughout the novel until she is able to face down her own fears and the class bully. A great book to make lives of immigrants/new citizens seem more relatab ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Stella Diaz is a third grader who - with the help and friends and family - conquers fears of public speaking and meeting new people. This book represents experiences that are not as well represented in early chapter books: immigration, speech therapy, and Mexican-American culture.

I have some concerns that the way school is depicted - competitive spelling bees, letter grades, and even boys vs. girls kickball - don't reflect the experiences of students today. Perhaps they reflect the author's own
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stella Diaz has no problem talking when it comes to her mom, her brother, and her best friend; but talking in class is another story. When a new kid joins her third grade class, she wants to be his friend but struggles for the right words. This middle grade chapter book is fun, entertaining, and will leave readers cheering for Stella as she learns to ride a bike, make new friends, conquers bullies, and start talking a lot more.
Deana Metzke
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-read-alouds
Stella, the main character in this book, is a 3rd grader who is trying to figure out where she fits in. She is from Mexico City, but now lives in Chicago with her mom and older brother. Her family is a tightly knit threesome, but its in school where Stella has some difficulty.

This book would be a great mirror for students (2nd-4th grade) who are recent immigrants to the US, students who spend time with a Speech Pathologist, as well as students dealing with divorced parents.
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Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, grew up in the great state of Texas, and now resides on the east coast.

She is the author and illustrator of several books for children including Maria Had a Little Llama, which received the American Library Association Pura Belpré Illustration Honor. in 2016, she received her second Pura Belpré Honor for her illustrations in Mango, Abuela, and Me (written