Multicultural Picture Book

by Grace Powell

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

About the Book

This read aloud is planned for 3rd graders. "Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match," by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios, is about a mismatched girl. Marisol has fiery-red hair and nut-brown skin; she loves stripes and polka dots; and she loves eating peanut butter and jelly burritos. Though her friends try to convince her she should match, Marisol learns to embrace her unique style.

Criteria for this Book

This book portrays cultural accuracy and authenticity of characters since Brown based this book on her own life as a child. Additionally, diversity is honored and celebrated when Marisol's teacher writes her a letter explaining how she loves her uniqueness, and Marisol then chooses to embrace her mismatched style. Furthermore, the book demonstrates unique language and style as it is written in English and Spanish.

Procedures for Implementation


Unique: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else

Marvelous: extremely good or pleasing; splendid

Mismatched: wrongly matched, incorrectly matched

Implementation Strategy

1. Gather the students on the carpet.

2. Get the students thinking: "Why did you choose to wear the clothes you did today? Why do you like certain foods? Why do read the books you do or play the games you do? Have you ever felt like you were different from your friends? What makes you different from your classmates? Turn to a friend a say one thing that makes you different from them." (One answer I heard from one girl was that she has cornrow braids and her friend has long hair.)

3. Introduce the book. "What do you think this book will be about?" (About how she doesn't match her friends, about how she is different.) Tell the students a little bit about the author. "Who can tell me what makes a book fiction? (The whole class said: "It's fake!"--an answer I'm guessing they learned in library.) Well, this book is realistic fiction because it is not a true story but it could be because the author based the story on her life."

4. "Before we read this book, I'm going to introduce you to a few vocabulary words." Write the words on the SMART board. Say the first word "unique." Have the students give you a thumbs up if they know the word and could explain it's meaning, a thumbs down if they don't know the word, and a sideways thumb is they know the word but couldn't explain it's meaning. If any student knows, let him/her explain. Fill in any blanks or correct as needed. Do this for "marvelous" and "mismatched".

5. Start reading the book. Read first page, then ask: "What do you already see about Marisol that makes her unique?" (Her shirt and pants are different; her hair bands are different colors; she's hanging upside down from a tree.)

6. Continue reading through page 16. "According to the book, why does Marisol 'not match'? (She wears clothes that don't match; she speaks English and Spanish; she likes peanut butter and jelly burritos instead of sandwiches.) How do her friends and family react to her mismatched style?" (They think she should match; they don't like it.)

7. Continue reading through page 22. "Why do you think Marisol wanted to match?" (Because her friend bet that she couldn't; she wanted to be like her friends; she wanted to fit in.)

8. Read next page. "What do you think will happen next?" (She will go back to matching; she will go back to being different; she will like being different.)

9. Finish reading the book. Ask: "How does Marisol feel about being 'mismatched' at the beginning of the story? (She likes it; she doesn't see anything wrong with being different.) How do her feelings change throughout the book? How do you know?" (She wants to match because her friends make fun of her; she tries to match but doesn't like it--it makes her sad; at the end, she likes being different again.)

10. Review information about the author. "What do you think Monica Brown wanted you to learn from her story about Marisol McDonald?" (That it's ok to be different; that we should be our own person.) Flip to the back of the book and read the note from the author.

11. Close the lesson by reviewing the vocabulary words.


I chose this particular book because of the diversity of the students. I thought they would be able to relate to this book since the students come from different background with different needs. I also chose this book because of it's easier reading level--many of the students are just barely at or below reading level, so I wanted to chose a book they would understand. My teachers also like to talk about what it means to be a good friend and show respect to others, and I thought this book fit in well with that theme. The strengths of this read-aloud was the book itself. The students loved the pictures and were entranced to the story line. They also loved that it was in Spanish and English. I ended up letting some of the students who could speak Spanish translate the Spanish words and correct my pronunciation--they loved that! The way I taught the vocabulary also seemed to be very effective because I used a method my CT has used in the classroom. Next time, I would read the book slower and ask more difficult questions. The students had no problem answer my "higher level thinking questions", and I feel like I didn't really make them think about the book. I also forgot to use the behavior tickets my CT uses for students who are well behaved--I think those would have helped with the few behavior problems I faced. My teacher told me that if I need to, to stop and "reset" before continuing if the students start acting up. I also called on the same students many times because they were the students raising their hands. Next time I will call on a variety of students to make sure they are all comprehending the story. Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has helped them recognize their differences in themselves and others and come to respect and accept those differences.