Stella Batts Needs a New Name

In Needs a New Name, Stella decides to change her name after a boy from her class keeps calling her "Smella." How hard can it be to pick a new name? It's not as easy as it sounds.

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Interest Level Grade 1 - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey FIC
Lexile 690L
ATOS Reading Level 3.8
Guided Reading Level N
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585361854), Paperback (9781585361830), PDF (9781410310514), Hosted ebook (9781627535090)
Copyright 2012, 2014
Number of Pages 160
Dimensions 5.5 x 7.5
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • National Parenting Publication Award--Honors in the Book Category, Winner, 2012
  • USA Best Books Award--Children's Fiction Category Finalist, Runner-up, 2012
  • 2012 USA Best Book Award Finalist - Children's Fiction, Short-listed, 2012

A Review of "Stella Batts Needs a New Name" in Publishers Weekly

First in a series featuring eight-year-old Stella, Sheinmel’s unassuming story, cheerily illustrated by Bell, is a reliable read for those first encountering chapter books. An aspiring writer, Stella tells her story in the form of an autobiography, describing her daily life as a third-grader with a pesky younger sister, mildly annoying classmates, and a few good friends. Stella’s father and pregnant mother own a candy store, complete with a chocolate waterfall and party room. But even though the store sells fudge named after her, Stella has developed a dislike of her name following an embarrassing incident in which she earned the nickname “Smella” (“I’m going to leave out that part,” she initially insists). When she changes her name her friends follow suit, leading to some unconventional choices like “Caramel” and “Scheherazade,” as well as identity confusion and bickering. With a light touch, Sheinmel (All the Things You Are) persuasively conveys elementary school dynamics; readers may recognize some of their own inflated reactions to small mortifications in likeable Stella, while descriptions of unique candy confections are mouth-watering. Ages 5–9. Agent: Alex Glass, Trident Media Group.

Author: Courtney Sheinmel

Courtney Sheinmel is a recovering attorney, chocolate-lover, mac and cheese expert, and the author of over a dozen highly celebrated books for kids and teens, including the young readers’ Stella Batts series, the middle grade Kindness Club series, and the young adult novel, Edgewater. In addition to writing, Courtney served as a judge on the national level for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and she received a National Scholastic Outstanding Educator Award for her work as a writing instructor at Writopia Lab, a non-profit organization serving kids ages 8 to 18. Courtney lives in New York City. You can find her on Twitter at @courtneywrites, on Instagram at courtneysheinmel, or on her website at

Illustrator: Jennifer A. Bell

Jennifer A. Bell is a children's book and greeting card illustrator, and studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design. After several years of living in Minneapolis, she recently relocated to Toronto.

  • Introduction
  • It's Not Fair
  • Fill in the Mrs. Blank
  • It's a Deal
  • Girls Named Caramel
  • Baby Girl Batts
  • New Names
  • The Announcement
  • Sherry & Stella
  • Problems
  • My Very Own Name
  • Epilogue
Full-color illustrations