Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina

Book review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina Book Poster Image
Biracial girl embraces her uniqueness in charming story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Text in both English and Spanish helps bilingual readers and readers learning either of those languages. Gives a glimpse of how it can feel to be a kid from two different cultures.

Positive Messages

Be who you are without fear of being different. Those who love you like you as you are. Don't try to change your personality in order to please others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Strong and confident female character. Diverse backgrounds are represented: Marisol’s mom is Peruvian, her dad Scottish, her teacher is African American, and her friends are also very diverse.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monica Brown's Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina is a fun story about an unapologetic biracial little girl, named Marisol McDonald, who suddenly feels pressure to "fit in" and "match" but quickly realizes that she is perfect the way she is. She speaks both English and Spanish, and celebrates both parts of her identity. This lively story celebrates diversity and encourages us to embrace our own individuality, is told in English on one page and Spanish on the other. Inspired by the multiracial life of author Monica Brown, this story's characters reflect diverse backgrounds. lIustrator by Sara Palacios received the 2012 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor for her work on this book.

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What's the story?

MARISOL MCDONALD DOESN'T MATCH / MARISOL MCDONALD NO COMBINA is a relatable story about a Peruvian Scottish American, polka-dot wearing, pirate-soccer-playing girl who doesn't mind acting or dressing differently than other kids. Everyone is always telling Marisol she doesn’t match. Her cousin points out that she doesn't match because she is brown like him, yet her "hair is the color of carrots." Her brother tells her that her outfits don't match. Her teacher tells her that her writing doesn't match because she uses cursive and print at the same time. Even her favorite lunches of peanut butter and jelly burritos don't match. During art class, Marisol paints pictures of polka-dotted pink elephants wearing eyeglasses. Marisol doesn't match! And that's just fine with her until a friend challenges her to match for one day. The day Marisol decides to match is her most miserable school day, but with the help of her teacher, Marisol learns that it's best to be yourself.

Is it any good?

Colorful illustrations and short sentences draw readers into this fun bilingual picture book with a powerful message. The simple vocabulary in Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina makes the story easy to follow in either English or Spanish. Palacio's detailed and playful illustrations beautifully depict diversity on each page and make it easier for readers to follow along if reading in a new language. Additionally, each page includes at least one image constructed from newspaper clippings, further engaging curious readers.

Kids who belong to multiple cultures will identify with Marisol and may find comfort in knowing that there are book characters who also do not fit into a specific box; it's alright to be brown and have red hair. This book's message is important: Be who you are without fear of being different. Marisol teaches us that seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together! 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their own background and identify which language or languages they speak at home and school. What are some experiences you can relate to in Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina?

  • What are some of your favorite things, outfits, foods, games? Do they match? Why or why not?

  • What are some things you really like about yourself? Your family? Your friends? How are you the same or different from others around you?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love bilingual books and stories of accepting who you are

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