Stella Diaz Has Something to Say: When Stella Feels So Different

Friday, February 07, 2020

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
I'm really happy that giggling and smiling is something that doesn't have to be translated. You just know it when you see it. -- Stella

Source: Goodreads
Title: Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
Author: Angela Dominguez
Number of pages: 192 pages
Date of Published: January 16th, 2018
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

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 Díaz loves marine animals, especially her betta fish, Pancho. But Stella Díaz is not a betta fish. Betta fish like to be alone, while Stella loves spending time with her mom and brother and her best friend Jenny. Trouble is, Jenny is in another class this year, and Stella feels very lonely. 

When a new boy arrives in Stella's class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. Plus, she has to speak in front of her whole class for a big presentation at school! But she better get over her fears soon, because Stella Díaz has something to say! 

Stella Díaz Has Something to Say introduces an infectiously charming new character with relatable writing and adorable black-and-white art throughout. Simple Spanish vocabulary is also integrated within the text, providing a bilingual element.


To be honest, I choose this book to complete my Balabala Reading Challenge 2020 for a book written by a South American. I thought, Angela Dominguez is from South American since she talks in Spanish. But, the more I read this novel, the more I realize that Dominguez is Mexican. So, this book failed to make me complete the challenge. Sigh.

But anyway, for a children book, this book has a something that we should appreciate.

Stella and her insecurity

For Stella, attending school with a new friend is a hard thing to do. Moreover, for this year, she couldn't be in one class with her best friend, Jenny. Somehow, Stella felt so insecure when she knows that she wasn't American. Yeah, her family is from Mexico. So, in some occasions, Stella couldn't manage to speak in English. She usually mixed up with Spanish when she is really nervous.

Stella's shyness to talk made her another classmate make fun of her. Jessica is one of the worst. She always insult Stella and make Stella questioning whether she literally belongs to he class or not. Onde day, there was a new student that will be in Stella's class. Stella wonder whether she can make friend with the new classmate or not.

Source: google, edited by me

My opinion

Well, at first, this is just an ordinary children book with an ordinary story. But it turns out that I was wrong. In this book, Dominguez tried to tell us about the difficulty of a Mexican children that have to struggle to attend school in America. The language barrier somehow make them shy and insecure. Just like Stella, she didn't know what to say because she feels different. She isn't American but she does living in America. How she can adjust her life into the American's live with the whole differences that she may have, is the main story of this book.

The character of Stella maybe is not really adorable in my opinion. But, she is a kind a girl who never give up. At first maybe you can find her shyness is really limiting her, but after all, she can manage it well. The character changing process is quite believable here.


It's a good children with a unique topic, tho. It will be relatable to some points and good for children to acknowledge the diversity around them.

3 out 5 stars for Stanley.

Puji P. Rahayu

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