Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Misnamed and Mispronounced: Picture Books

Along with a change of seasons, September also brings many other changes: a new school or new school year, new routines, new teachers, and new classmates, just to name a few.  Although often exciting and enjoyable, for some children the new school year can also be stressful and anxiety provoking if their names are challenging for their teachers and classmates to pronounce. Some questions that children in these situations might be grappling with are: Will my new teacher be able to say and spell my name? Will the other kids be able to remember my name? Can or should I change my name to make it easier for everyone else?  An article in the following NEA Today Newsletter, Why Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly is So Important, discusses the emotional toll experienced by children when year after year they must contend with teachers and classmates who repeatedly misname them. For further discussion on why it’s so important for educators to get children’s names right, see SLJ’s Pronouncing Kids’ Names Correctly Matters. Here’s How to Get it Right. Luckily, there are several recent picture books to share with children that do a great job of realistically depicting a variety of experiences surrounding the issue of being misnamed. For a related list of general back to school books see last year’s blog post by Abby Johnson about Inclusive Back to School Books. Do you have any other suggestions for picture books on this topic? Let us know!

The Boy Who Tried To Shrink His Name written by Sandhya Parappukkaran and illustrated by Michelle Pereira (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2023).

Kantiga Finds the Perfect Name written by Mabel Mnensa and illustrated by Chantelle and Burgen Thorne (Crocodile Books, 2023).

My Name written by Supriya Kelkar and illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2023).

My Name Is a Story written by Ashanti and illustrated by Monika Mikai (Harper Collins, 2022).

Say My Name written by Joanna Ho, and illustrated by Khoa Le (Harper Collins, 2023).

Sora’s Seashells written by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Stella Kim with Ji-Hyuk Kim (Candlewick Press, 2023).

Thao written and illustrated by Thao Lam (Owlkids, 2021).

That’s Not My Name! written and illustrated by Anoosha Syed (Viking, 2022).

Yefferson, Actually = En realidad es Yefferson written by Katherine Trejo and Scott Martin-Rowe and illustrated by Karla Monterrosa and translated by Bryce Breslin (Lil Libros, 2021).

Your Name Is a Song written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Luisa Uribe (Innovation Press, 2020).

Today’s blog post was written by Nomi Hague (she/her), a Youth Services Librarian at the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, Rhode Island. Nomi is a member of the ALSC Early Childhood Programs & Services Committee and can be reached at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *