If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names. Winner of the 2019 Caldecott Honor Award.
Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....
Maria, Jin, and Fatimah are new to their American elementary school. The words that they hear around them and see on the page are confusing. They each long for the language that they understand and the friends who understand them back home. They feel as though they don’t fit in—they are alone, confused, and sad in their new school. After observing those around them, each new student slowly gains the confidence to interact with their new surroundings. They realize that their peers and teachers are very supportive, welcoming, and excited to learn what these new classmates have to share.
Self confident, cheerful, and bright but friendless, Dyamond is the newest kid in Mrs. Cordell's 3rd grade. That is, until a grumpy boy named Free moves to town — and a friendship begins. Lively, believable, and likeable characters introduce this new heroine.
When Bilal and his sister Ayesha move with their family, they have to attend a new school. They soon find out that they may be the only Muslim students there. When Bilal sees his sister bullied on their first day, he worries about being teased himself, and thinks it might be best if his classmates didn't know that he is Muslim. Maybe if he tells kids his name is Bill, rather than Bilal, then they would leave him alone. Mr. Ali, one of Bilal's teachers and also Muslim, sees how Bilal is struggling.
This collection of bilingual poems gives voice to a young boy who has recently come to the U.S. from Mexico. He wonders, for example, why he has suddenly lost all of his intelligence here if in his country he was smart. From getting a library card to making friends, Jorge must find ways to overcome the challenges of his new life. An excellent portrayal of the roller coaster that newcomers experience upon arrival in the U.S.
Product Description: For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name. "We already have two Marías in this class," says her teacher. "Why don't we call you Mary instead?" But María Isabel has been named for her Papá's mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she's lost the most important part of herself?
Sangoel is a refugee. Leaving behind his homeland of Sudan, where his father died in the war, he has little to call his own other than his name, a Dinka name handed down proudly from his father and grandfather before him. When Sangoel and his mother and sister arrive in the United States, everything seems very strange and unlike home. In this busy, noisy place, with its escalators and television sets and traffic and snow, Sangoel quietly endures the fact that no one is able to pronounce his name.
Yoon narrates the difficulty she experiences when her family moves to the United States from Korea. Her struggle with the transition focuses on the moment when she must learn to write her name in English rather than in Korean, and she remains resistant to learning a new language. Her imaginative voice is child-like and plausible, augmented by inventive illustrations.
"René, a new student from El Salvador, doesn't understand why his second last name is missing from his desk's name label. Adding it results in a name so long that his classmates make fun of it by comparing it to that of a dinosaur…When his teacher assigns the students the project of creating a family tree, René is determined to show his classmates and teacher why he has two last names and the importance of his dos apellidos." — School Library Journal
On the way to Unhei's first day of school, a group of kids on the school bus make fun of her name. When she gets to class, she refuses to tell anyone her name, deciding that she wants to choose an American name instead. The next morning, she finds a name jar filled with pieces of paper and finds that her classmates are eagerly awaiting to see which name Unhei will choose. Yangsook Choi (who chose the name Rachael as a child) offers a moving portrait of the importance of names and identity to all children.
Seen through the eyes of a young boy, Amarlai, this is a beautiful depiction of the customs surrounding a traditional Ghanaian naming ceremony.
Yoko is ready for kindergarten! She can write her name, write numbers, and read stories. There is only one problem, though — she does it all in Japanese, and her classmates make fun of her scribbles. Can her new friend convince her that knowing a secret language isn't such a bad thing after all? Wells offers a loving, empathetic story that young ELLs will easily relate to, as well as a thoughtful portrayal of a teacher who embraces her young student's native language in the classroom.
Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl's mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!