Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match
Last week while surfing the web, I came across a summer reading list for girls called, “Girls of Summer: This is not your school’s summer reading list“. Immediately attracted to the name of the blog, I proceeded to scan the list and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only do all of these books feature strong female antagonists, many of the titles feature girls of color!! Whoop-whoop! Titles for all ages are listed, but for my crew, I focused on the picture books.
I then ventured to our local library and checked out the titles I could find (as you may recall, the pickings are slim here). I loved the first book so much, I’m adding it to our permanent home collection. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, is a delightful story written by Monica Brown and Illustrated by Sara Palacios.
In this bubbly bilingual tale, award-winning author Monica Brown introduces readers to Marisol McDonald, an irrepressible soccer-playing pirate artist who doesn’t match–and doesn’t want to.
From her mismatched clothes to her “mixed” heritage, Marisol does not look, nor act, like the stereotypical girl. But even in the face of pressures to conform, Marisol decides that being herself is much more fun than blending in with the masses. Whew! You know I LOVE that message!!!!
What is also very cool about this book is that it is completely bilingual: the story is told simultaneously in both English and Spanish! My Spanish has gotten super-rusty since leaving Cali, but the practice does me good! Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to read both translations. I’m just quirky that way.
Finally, I greatly appreciate the author’s note on the final page:
I wrote this book because, like more than six million Americans, I’m multiracial. I’m the daughter of a South American mother and a North American father…Like Marisol McDonald, my cousins and I are mixed–indigenous Peruvian and Spanish mixed with Scottish and Italian and Jewish, not to mention Nicaraguan, Mexican, Chilean and African…People sometimes ask us, ‘What are you?’ and sometimes even say that we ‘don’t match.’ But we know better. Our mothers told us that we are Americans, yes, but also citizens of the world. My life (and I’ll bet yours too) is bound up with the history of many peoples, and like Marisol McDonald, I open my arms wide and embrace them all.
This book uses a light hand to explore multiculturalism. It is not a book about being “mixed.” It is a book about being different–something that many kids of many backgrounds can relate to. To that end, the overall message of this book is simple and universal. As Sting writes, “Be yourself, no matter what they say.” This is a theme we’ve heard many times from many perspectives, but it hits home in a new way when told by a brown-skinned, red-headed Peruvian girl with freckles. I love Marisol! I hope you get a chance to meet her, too.
- Picture book ages 5-8
- Kirkus Starred Review
- 2012 International Latino Book Award
- Pura Belpré Honor Book
- 2012 ALSC Notable Book
- Junior Library Guild Selection, Fall 2011
Digging To The Roots
Don’t stop there! Monica Brown has provided an awesome activity pack for grades K-3. Check it out! http://www.monicabrown.net/files/MarisolActivityKit.pdf