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Breaking Out of Your Shell with Stella Díaz

by Kayla Aldrich, Read to Them staff

Hello, all! As our time with Stella Díaz Has Something to Say! comes all the closer, we wanted to highlight one of Stella’s biggest struggles over the course of the book. So take a pause and settle in with the post below.


Over the course of the book, Stella often struggles with speaking up. She believes that she needs her best friend, Jenny, to be her most authentic self and is often very, very hard on herself. In one chapter, Stella thinks: “Why would [Stanley] care? It’s not like he wants to be friends with a klutz like me.” (pp. 28)

It’s difficult to read, especially when readers know Stella is bright, kind, and has so much to say. But it also begs a big question— have you ever felt like this? Maybe voices around you feel bigger than yours. Maybe, like Stella, you speak multiple languages and they get tangled up in your head when you try to speak in front of your class. Or it could be that you are hard on yourself because you feel like you aren’t doing your best.

Take a pause. Inhale. Don’t listen to that mean little voice in your head. Exhale.

Your words and ideas are valuable. You might not know it, but someone is looking forward to hearing your opinion—like Stanley with Stella! It may be scary, but speaking up and letting your light shine can be a powerful act of bravery. There is no part of your personality that you should try to hide or dim. There’s no one else like you, but that does not mean there is no one who can understand you.

If you ever find yourself facing people like Jessica Andersen, think about the advice given to Stella by her mother on page 133: “Someone can only make you feel bad if you let them. It’s just words.”

Above all, Remember to be gentle with yourself, and when you could think mean thoughts, handle your mind and heart with grace, instead. You’re always welcome to share photos with us of you and your family during the reading event on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking for a community to share your thoughts about Stella Díaz Has Something to Say? Don’t forget to head over to Flipgrid and share them with your peers.

Be well, all, and happy reading!

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