Stella Díaz Has Something to Say: Stella Díaz, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Stella Díaz Has Something to Say: Stella Díaz, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Kindness helps bilingual girl with public speaking, friends.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Lots of information about marine life, other cultures, and how to navigate friendships as they change and grow.

Positive Messages

Be open and honest about your feelings when you're hurt, and listen to what others say in return. Keep trying when things are hard. Don't hold grudges, and give new people a chance.

Positive Role Models

Stella's mother is warm and supportive, and her brother is the kind of loving older sibling kids dream of having. The other adults and teachers are kind and helpful toward all the kids.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Angela Dominguez's Stella Díaz Has Something to Say, the first book in her Stella Díaz series, is a soft, kindhearted take on some big issues facing kids every day. Stella gets picked on for having a hard time speaking in front of the class, feels shy around a new kid, and is worried that her best friend might ditch her for someone else. The support of her mom and big brother is a nice refuge for Stella, and adds a layer of kindness to the story. There's a lot of Spanish vocabulary here, along with tidbits about her Mexican heritage and her fear when she finds out that she's an "alien" but doesn't understand what that means. Young readers will see the steps Stella takes to become more confident, and see that it isn't always easy to change habits.

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What's the story?

In STELLA DIAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY, third-grader Stella faces a more complicated life than last year. First, she's in a different class that her best friend Jenny, and she's afraid they'll drift apart. She goes to a special speech class at school to help her enunciate, and between that and being bilingual, she sometimes has trouble finding the right words in the right language when she speaks in front of the class, so she gets picked on. She's hopeful that having a new kid in her class will give her a fresh start with a new friend, but the new kid is a boy, and she's embarrassed when she gets tripped up on her words. The only thing Stella gets energized about when she talks is marine animals, so when she has to do an oral report, she decides to focus on what matters most to her and try her best.

Is it any good?

Packed with positivity and a soft, nurturing undertone, author Angela Dominguez makes Stella's bilingual life both a centerpiece and a natural part of her every day in this uplifting, relatable story. Stella Díaz Has Something to Say takes the struggles many elementary school students feel about their place in the school, evolving friendships, family struggles, and doubting their own abilities and shows how to navigate those difficulties with grace, humor, and kindness. One key piece is the support Stella gets from her mom and her older brother, who understand what's happening and quietly help her see the big picture.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the many reasons someone might not want to speak up in a crowd, like Stella's reluctance in Stella Díaz Has Something to Say. How can you help someone feel comfortable speaking up? What happens in your classroom or club when someone seems shy?

  • Why do you think Jessica picks on Stella? What can you do if you see someone being picked on?

  • What do you think of Stella's dad? How do you think Stella feels about him and his role in her life? Do know any kids whose parents aren't in their lives very much?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Latinx stories and friendship stories

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