Stella Batts Needs a New Name by Courtney Sheinmel has been in my To Be Read pile for a couple of months and I'm so glad I spent time this weekend getting to know Stella. Stella is a third grade girl with plans to be a writer. I fell in love with her when she declared she wasn't going to wait until she grows up to be a writer, she's writing her first book right now; an autobiography.
Stella has a younger sister who can make Stella's patience a bit thin but in the end really helps Stella figure something out. Stella has a best friend, a group of friends, and then some boys at school who she doesn't like. One in particular made fun of her name and changed it to Smella. Stella doesn't want to relive the event that got her this nickname so she decides she is unhappy with her name and will change it. Her friends love this idea and decide to join her. How the girls go about thinking up new names is entertaining. Her teacher doesn't love this idea so much. Her parents "roll" with the idea, as all good parents would.
This book has two features I enjoy and love to read; an introduction about the characters before the actual story begins and an epilogue. When I finish a book I really enjoy, I always want to read more about the characters in the future and this doesn't always happen. There's a lot of dialogue in this story but easy for readers to follow and understand. I feel Courtney Sheinmel gave Stella a great voice; she defines words for the reader, she wrestles with her own thinking, and she's learning how to stand up for herself. A fun new character to add to our classroom library with several titles.