There are countless books for kids with first names in their titlesâ€”from Harold and the Purple Crayon to Madeline to Fancy Nancy to Oliviaâ€”but there arenâ€™t very many books for children about names, with scenarios revolving around such name issues as how they relate to identity, popularity, etc
IÂ have foundÂ a few books aimed at preschoolers that do address some of these questions, most of them Â almost inevitably endingâ€”no matter what the problem– with the child accepting and loving his or her own name, sometimes by finding the right nickname. Â And several of the booksÂ have the added attraction ofÂ containing big bunches of appealing (or silly) names.
So here they are, for your name nerd in the making:
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001)
ThisÂ is the gentle tale of a little Korean girl newly arrived with her family in America, beginning her first day of school.Â When her classmates find her Korean name, Unhei, difficult to spell and pronounce, she wonders if she should have her own American name, and so the other kids try to help by putting name suggestions into a jar.Â Daisy? Â Miranda? Â Madison? Avery? In the end,Â Unhei reconnects with her own culture, loving her name for its meaning and its link to her Korean family and heritage. Â (I happen to know a five-year-old girl with Chinese roots and a Chinese name, whose favorite book this is.)
How a girl named Eleanor has to deal with the fact that everyone in her family calls her by a different nickname, indicative of the ways in which Â they see her and project her future, images which she then enacts in a series of comical fantasies.Â After rejecting all of them. from Elle to Punch to Elbow Macaroni, and following Â the advice of a wise aunt who tells her that she herself will find the name thatâ€™s right for her, she announces herself as Ellie.
This time itâ€™s a pig rather than a person with a name problem. Sidney is a poetic pig who loves to write rhyming birthday poemsÂ for his friends.Â When he realizes that his own name doesnâ€™t rhyme with anything but kidney, he decides to change it to Joeâ€”a name he keeps forgetting .Â His mother is upset, asÂ Sidney was named after a beloved mop-inventor great-great-great grandfather.Â Finally, he comes up with the rhymable nickname Sid, and happily for allâ€”especially his motherâ€”he can still be Sidney, with Sid for poem purposes. An amusing story with witty, whimsical illustrations.
The story of a girl who thinks her name is too plainâ€”Mabel (!) â€“for the famous singer she hopes to be, and so decides to share her best friendâ€™s nameâ€”Holly.Â When that gets too confusing, she then borrows the name of her favorite aunt, Marietta– also not successful.Â At the end, she sees an ultra famous and fabulous Lady Gaga-esque singer on TV who happens to be named Lady Mabel, and to the little heroine, â€śsoon her name sounded as lovely as music.â€ť
The title tells it all in this story in rhyme of the complications that arise when there are four boys in a class with the same nameâ€”Jordan N., Jordan S., Jordan P. and Jordan F.Â The situation gets even worse when a new girl enters the class, whose name is also—you guessed it.