MARCH 2018

Diva and Flea

The Story of Diva and Flea

by Mo Willems & Tony Diterlizzi

Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery.

For as long as she could remember, Diva lived at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris, France. For as long as he could remember, Flea also lived in Paris, France — but at no fixed address. When Flea flâneurs past Diva's courtyard one day, their lives are forever changed. Together, Diva and Flea explore and share their very different worlds, as only true friends can do.

A Note from the First Lady

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

A little band you may have heard of called The Beatles once sang “I get by with a little help from my friends.” A friend can have a special way of helping us feel encouraged, think differently, and grow in ways that we might not grow alone. The Story of Diva of Flea illustrates just that as it follows a straight-laced pup named Diva and an easy-going alley-cat named Flea through an adventure together in the city of Paris.

You will be entranced and thoroughly entertained as you follow the pair through the magical city of lights as the big cat tries to teach an old dog new tricks. You will learn, as Diva & Flea do, that there is always more to discover about the world and the people (or pets!) in it.

Keep up the great reading!

Crissy Haslam

First Lady of Tennessee


Fun Family Activities

1. Language & Culture: This story is set in Paris, France, a beautiful city in Europe. French culture and language are woven throughout the book, and one particular instance of this occurs in the characterization of Flea. Flea likes to flâneur through Paris. What does the French word flâneur mean? How do you think that Flea’s habit of flâneur-ing resulted in his unlikely friendship with Diva? If you were going to flâneur through your hometown, where would you go? What would you want to do or see while you are flâneur-ing? And where would you go if you were to flâneur through Paris, like Flea?

2.  A Funny Pair: Diva and Flea is the story of an unlikely friendship and how others can encourage us to grow and move outside our comfort zone. Watch this video to learn more about how the author, Mo Willems, and illustrator, Tony Diterlizzi, became fast friends while they worked on this book together. Have you ever had an unlikely friendship in your life? What about someone who challenged you to take a walk outside your own gates? What is the importance of having people in our lives that are not exactly like us? What can they teach us?

3. Creative Writing: Write a letter to author Mo Willems to tell him what you liked (or disliked) about this story. Describe what you learned from Diva & Flea, what made you laugh, or what surprised you. If the author were to write a sequel to The Story of Diva & Flea, what would your ideas be for that next story?

You can send your letter here:

Mo Willems Fan Mail

c/o Rock Dove

Hyperion Books for Children (and Pigeons)

125 West End Avenue, 3rd Floor

New York, New York 10023

4. Further Reading: Author Mo Willems is a celebrated American children’s author. He has written many favorites, including Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and the Elephant & Piggie series. You may also like to read some other books that Tony Diterlizzi has illustrated, including The Spiderwick Chronicles, Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon-Pie Adventure, or Kenny & the Dragon. You can find all of these picks and more at your local library.