Multicultural Picture Book

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina

"Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina" by Monica Brown and Illustrated by Sara Palacios was published in 2012 by Children's Book Press Lee & Low Books Inc.

The read aloud is planned for second graders. "Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina" is a picture book about a girl named Marisol McDonald that has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. To Marisol, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol―can’t she just choose one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her. The book has been recognized for several awards, including: Tejas Star Book Award, the International Latino Book Award, and a Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration

The picture book demonstrates unique language style with its dual formatting of English and Spanish. The colorful illustrations and authentic family interactions are appealing for younger children. This particular book invites reflection of its readers and viewers by expressing that "being your true self is perfect regardless of what anyone else thinks!"

Writing "Marisol McDonald"

Writing "Marisol McDonald"

Background Information

(from the Author’s Note on the last page of the book)

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, and my childhood was spent in a close community of cousins, tíos (uncles), and tías (aunts).

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. One thing most of us do share are freckles. According to one of my tíos, the family freckles came from the time my abuelita (grandma) was stirring a big pan of chocolate on the stove—my tío reached for it and it splattered everywhere, leaving chocolate sprinkles on everyone’s faces and toes!

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.

Becoming a Children's Author

Starting as a children's author

Engage the Learner:

If possible, let students sample a peanut butter and jelly burrito in class to start conversation about whether it's ok or not to eat peanut butter and jelly this way and why.

Before Reading:

Before introducing the book to students, you may wish to develop background and promote anticipation by posing questions such as the following:

  1. What kinds of clothes do you like to wear? How do you decide if one thing you put on goes with something else you put on?
  2. What are some of the things we can tell about a person from the way he or she chooses to dress?
  3. What games and sports do you like to play? Have you ever tried to combine more than one of them? What might happen if you did?
  4. How can you decide on a good name for a pet? What do you think you should consider when choosing a name?

Exploring the Book:

Display the book and read the title aloud. Ask students what they think the title means. Then ask them to predict what the story might be about. Who do you think the characters might be? Where do you think the story might take place? What do you think might happen in the story? What makes you think that?

Take students on a short tour of the book and draw attention to the following parts of the book: endpapers with drawings on them, title page, English and Spanish text, illustrations, and author’s note on the last page.

Ask students if they think this book will be fiction or nonfiction. What makes them think so? What clues do the author and illustrator give that helped them decide?

Ask students to predict what the book is going to be about. Which parts of the book did they use as clues to making their predictions

After Reading:

After reading the book, use these or similar questions to generate discussion:

  1. The narrator is the character who tells us the story. Who is the narrator in this story? How do you know?
  2. Who is Tato? Why does he think that Marisol doesn’t match? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.
  3. Who are the members of Marisol’s family?
  4. Which one of Marisol’s parents is from Peru? Which parent is from Scotland? Cite evidence from the story to support your answer.
  5. Besides mismatching her clothes, what else does Marisol do that other people think clashes? Use examples from the text to support your answer.
  6. What puppy does Marisol pick? How is the puppy similar to Marisol? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.


Discuss the vocabulary words coordinate and clash and have students come up with their own definitions. Then encourage them to look for items in the classroom that they think coordinate or clash. Ask them to present their findings to the class and tell why they think the items they chose coordinate or clash.

3 Multicultural Key Strengths of the Book

• Honor and celebrate diversity

• Include characters with a cultural group or between two more cultural groups who interact substantively and authentically

• Demonstrate unique language or style


· Why was this particular book selected? I selected this book because of the overall message/moral of the story. I think aside from Marisol being bi-racial, I think this story can apply to any one for the fact that we all should take pride in who we are regardless of what society perceives or predetermines us to be. It is such a cute book with a simple yet heart felt message. How did it “match” the funds of knowledge of this particular class/group of students? I haven’t really had the opportunity to assess the in depth culture and history of the students I am working with. Although based off of the ethnic melting pot of the class, this story can fit in with many if not all of the students in the class and can assist also in helping with cultural acceptance of families in the community and allowing them to come together as one.

· What were the strengths of the read aloud/the picture book/vocabulary teaching presentation? I really think the build up to reading the book was exciting for the kids. Allowing them to work with each other exploring things that go together and things that normally wouldn’t go together. From sports to clothing, the students seemed to relate well with the questions asked and the responses from their group partners. The vocabulary used was understandable and could easily integrate into any part of the lesson. The vibrant colors of the book seemed to excite the 2nd graders and keep their eyes on the illustrations rather than getting distracted by other things or individuals in the class. It was neat to see students wanting to ask questions about the story and the illustrations through out the read aloud.

· What would I need to do differently next time? I had planned on bringing peanut butter and jelly burritos as and intro or ELF to the read aloud lesson, however last minute I realized I forgot to ask about student allergies. Therefor the idea was nixed completely. Instead I asked the kids what they thought if the cafeteria was serving PB&J burritos for lunch today. The conversation was still great but I wished I could have brought the burritos. The 30 minute window was a little rough to stay in sink and not go over. I went over 5 minutes due to the students that forgot their answers. Next time I need to ask them if they forgot their answer before I wait so long. I also need to practice when it’s necessary to stop on account of behavior students seeking attention not following CHAMPS for the read aloud. I gave more positives than negatives in regards to behaviors but wish I took into mind the negative behaviors or a least being prepared for them before they ever happened in order to proactively move on in a timely fashion. I used the document camera for visual detail sake. Holding the book and reading wouldn’t have allowed everyone to see the print and details in the illustrations. The document camera put out a light bulb glare in which I continuously kept moving the book to remove most of it from the Smartboard.

· Respond to the following open-ended statement: Implementing multicultural children’s literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has helped me see that my students have grown up differently than I had and come from different backgrounds and have different families than I do. This is something I need to remember when planning for my future students; making sure to acknowledge and meet their educational needs and not allow myself to force students to fit into the way I feel comfortable teaching.