Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

Written by Monica Brown/Illustrated by Sara Palacios

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About the Book

"Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina" by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios was published in 2011 by Children's Book Press.

This read aloud is planned for kindergarteners. "Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina" is a picture book about a young girl who simply enjoys being mismatched. She dresses differently, she eats interesting foods, and she likes things that seem unusual to others. When faced with the challenge to "match", Marisol finds out which side of her she likes most.

The book has received literary awards including:

  • Tejas Star Book Award
  • International Latino Book Award
  • Pura Belpre Honor (for illustrations)

The multicultural picture book presents dual formatting of English and Spanish, reflecting a unique language style unlike many books that most children are used to reading. This book allows students to reflect and also celebrates diversity by conveying that it's alright to be different than others. Students are able to reflect on how they might be different from their classmates, but they can think back to the book, where it was expressed that differences are okay. It also celebrates diversity because the main character is a Peruvian-Scottish-American girl, and her differences are shown in a positive light.

Meet Monica Brown

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Monica Brown is the author of many award-winning bilingual books for children, many of which are inspired by her Peruvian American heritage. Monica is a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, specializing in US Latino Literature and Multicultural Literature. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her family.
Starting as a children's author
Writing "Marisol McDonald"

(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.

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Meet Sara Palacios

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Sara Palacios was born in Mexico City. She holds degrees in Graphic Design, Illustration, and Digital Graphic Techniques. She is also pursuing her MFA in Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She spends goes back and forth between Mexico City and San Francisco, spending time with family and creating illustrations. She has worked as a freelance illustrator for Santillana, McGraw-Hill, SM, and others. This is her first book with Children's Book Press.

Sara works with a variety of media including collage, ink, and digital to create her illustrations. Her works use vibrant colors and multiple textures. In 2012, Sara received the Pura Belpre Illustration Honor Award for her illustrations in Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina.

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Instructional Sequence

Vocabulary Words:

Unique - One-of-a-kind, not exactly like anything/anyone else

Perrito - Spanish word for puppy

Read Aloud:

  • Before reading, ask students "What is your favorite thing to wear? Have you ever worn clothes that didn't match? Why?"
  • Relate the questions to the book by saying, "I'm going to read a book about a girl who does things a little differently than her friends. Lets see what kinds of things she enjoys doing!"
  • Read pages 1-8 and pause to ask, "Have you ever eaten a peanut butter and jelly burrito?"
  • Continue reading pages 9-13. Pause and ask, "What might happen if you tried playing two sports at once?"
  • Continue reading pages 14-20. Pause and ask, "Do you think pirates can play soccer?"
  • Continue reading pages 21-29. Pause and ask, "What kind of puppy do think Marisol is going to pick out?"
  • Finish reading the book.
  • After finished, ask the class, "Did Marisol like being mismatched or matched better?"

Vocabulary Integration:

  • Present the words "unique" and "perrito" to the class. Ask students to repeat the word
  • Say, "Unique means that someone or something is one-of-a-kind - that there is nothing/no one else like it/them. In the story, Marisol was unique because she was different from everyone else. We are all unique because there is no one else who is exactly like us. There might be others who look like us or like to do the same thing, but they are not exactly like us".
  • Show students a picture of children who all look different. Ask students to describe how each are unique.
  • Ask students to turn to a friend and say, "You're unique! You're one-of-a-kind."
  • Say, "Perrito is the Spanish word for 'puppy'. Ask students to repeat the word "perrito".
  • Show students a picture of "Perry the puppy". Explain how they can remember the word "perrito" by thinking of the puppy's name, Perry.
  • Ask students to turn to a friend and say, "'Perrito' means puppy. Perry the perrito."
  • Review by asking what "unique" means. Then have them turn to a friend and again say, "You're unique! You're one-of-a-kind."
  • Then Ask what "Perrito" means. Then have them turn to a friend and again say, "'Perrito' means puppy. Perry the perrito."


  • Hold up a picture of a black and white cartoon puppy (worksheet).
  • Tell students that they will be making their own unique perritos.
  • Each student will get their own picture of a puppy to color with crayons.
  • Once everyone is done coloring, they will share their unique perritos with their friends.


This book was selected because of the diversity that my school and classroom display. In the story, the main character is Peruvian-Scottist-American. She is different from most of the other children around her. My school's ethnic groups are very diverse, ranging from African American, Hispanic, Vietnamese, and Indian. The book emphasized the theme of, "it's okay to be different than others". I believe this is something that my kindergarteners need to learn and remember. Overall, I think my multicultural read aloud went well. The students seemed to really enjoy the book, as they were laughing, responding, and engaged for the entire time. Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match is a fun book for children because the illustrations are so vibrant, and the story is fun to follow. My CT also mentioned that I had a great voice while reading the book. The students also really enjoyed creating their own "unique perritos". They all decided that they would name their dogs, but insisted on keeping the name a secret until we shared them with each other at the end. I believe that the vocabulary could've gone better. Something that I could've done differently was shown the students two pictures (one that depicts unique and one that depicts "matched") and ask them to determine which pictures displayed the vocabulary word. This would've allowed for further understanding of the vocabulary words. Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has presented the idea to them that we are all different, and our differences can be seen in a positive light. They are able to understand that differences should be celebrated, and being your true self is perfectly fine regardless of what anyone else thinks.