Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Ten Picture Books About Names

Each August, for the past few years, I have made a list of ten picture books that fit a particular theme as part of the Picture Book 10 for 10 community which was started by Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Although the celebration of picture books is not formally taking place this year, I still wanted to reflect on picture books I have enjoyed and think are worth sharing during the upcoming school year. Since I recently read a few picture books about names, I put together a list of ten titles related to this topic. 

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma learns that her very long name fits her perfect. This book highlights family and identity and shows that our names can tell a story. Very sweet.

Always Anjali by Sheetal Sheth and illustrated by Jessica Blank

Anjali's friends find license plates with their for their bikes, but not one has her name on it. When she feels like she wants to change her name, her mother explains how special it is and helps her see that being different is a marvelous thing.

Millions of Maxes by Meg Wolitzer and illustrated by Micah Player

Max believes he is the "one and only Max" until a trip to the park where he discovers there are two other kids with his name, as well. The Maxes work together to find a missing pink pine cone which leads them to another Max. A fun read.

My Name is Bana by Bana Alabed and illustrated by Nez Riaz

Bana learns what she was named for and tells how she lives up to her name's meaning. Written by an activist, this book also gives insight into the life of a child refugee.

My Name is Cool! by Antonio Sacre and illustrated by Sarah Demonteverde

Antonio has many different nicknames and he is proud of them and the ways he got them. This is a very charming book and one that will be useful to open up discussion about kids' nicknames. 

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Yoon does not like how her name looks when written in English, so when asked to write it in school she uses different words. As Yoon adjusts she makes a friend and decides to write her name in English. This book explores the feelings of a child being in a new country.

Thao by Thao Lam

This is a cleverly illustrated book that gives insight into the experience of having a name that others mispronounce and misspell. Thao's story is empowering and the message about the importance of using one's correct name is meaningful.

That's Not My Name by Anoosha Syed

Mira does not speak up about her name when others mispronounce it even though she wants to. Her mother helps her see how beautiful her name is and Mira finds a way to tell others what her name is. This is a sweet and empowering story about the importance of names and standing up for oneself. 

Tomatoes in my Lunchbox by Costantia Manoli and illustrated by Magdalena Mora

In a new school in a new country where her teacher and classmates can't pronounce her name, the narrator wishes for one that is more like the other children. She also feels like she stands out because of the clothes she wears and the food, like the tomato, in her lunchbox. With advice from her grandmother, she makes a new friend and begins to feel a sense of belonging. Heart-warming.

Your Name is a Song by Jamila Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Luisa Uribe

A child meets her mother after school, upset that her classmates and teacher can't say her name. The child's mother helps her appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of her names and of others. An empowering book that is a joyous celebration of names.

Previous Year's Lists

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