Stella Díaz Leaps to the Future

Roaring Brook. (Stella Diaz: Bk. 5). Mar. 2023. 192p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250862570.
Gr 2-4–The art-loving, ocean-saving enthusiast is back for her fifth and final outing. Stella is starting the fifth grade, and she has come a long way since the series opener. Change is on the horizon as she prepares for middle school, including an application to an exclusive science and art magnet school. Her brother Nick is already thinking about college, and her friend Stanley has been hanging out with her nemesis Jessica. Worst of all, the Sea Musketeers, members of an ocean activist group she founded, are getting too busy to finish up their projects. Dominguez’s latest installment in this slice-of-life series continues to charm. The Mexican American girl is sensitive, hardworking, and thoughtful, and kids will see themselves in her as she experiences triumphs and disappointments. Her mixed feelings about her absent dad and her struggles with grammar as an English Language Learner will resonate with many readers. Dominguez’s friendly and accessible art complements the relatable narrative. The illustrations also provide visual support for readers who are not quite ready for full-length middle grade novels. Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout. The diverse cast includes representatives from Latinx, Asian, and Black communities.
VERDICT Familiarity with the previous titles is a plus, but new readers can easily jump in. Purchase where there’s a need for chapter books for older readers.

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