That’s Not My Name!

Viking. Jul. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593405178.
PreS-Gr 2–In a vividly illustrated classroom that includes a child in a wheelchair, students who have many different colors of skin, a variety of dress, and many different hairstyles, saying “Mir” as in “miracle” and “Ha” as in “haha” should not be so hard. But on the first day of school, which Mirha has anticipated for so long, no one, not even the teacher, can say her name right. She hears students call her by every other name there is, from Mina to Nerha. Hayden, with red hair and green eyes, asks Mirha to change her name to Maya, to make it easier for everyone, and she considers it. The heartbreak is palpable, because most children have witnessed this situation, even if they were not victims of it. Mirha cannot understand why the name that is music to everyone in her Arab family is so difficult for others. Her solution proves perfect. When people get it wrong, she simply says, “That’s not my name,” and helps the person pronounce it. She is just as courteous about everyone else’s names. Syed’s book uses clarity in the dialogue, the emotions, and in the intent, featuring only well-meaning teachers and children who want to get it right. Her illustrated school scenes are so familiar while Mirha’s posture translates her every feeling, with or without the text.
VERDICT This is a necessary guide for helping everyone navigate these waters, and educators may wish to throw in some conversation about pronouns as well. A great first-day story for breaking the ice.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing