Category: too-popular names

There are countless books for kids with first names in their titles—from Harold and the Purple Crayon to Madeline to Fancy Nancy to Olivia—but there aren’t very many books for children about names, with scenarios revolving around such name issues as how they relate to identity, popularity, etc

I have found a few books aimed at preschoolers that do address some of these questions, most of them  almost inevitably ending—no matter what the problem– with the child accepting and loving his or her own name, sometimes by finding the right nickname.  And several of the books have the added attraction of 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)

This is the gentle tale of a little Korean girl newly arrived with her family in America, beginning her first day of school.  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.  Daisy?  Miranda?  Madison? Avery? In the end, Unhei reconnects with her own culture, loving her name for its meaning and its link to her Korean family and heritage.  (I happen to know a five-year-old girl with Chinese roots and a Chinese name, whose favorite book this is.)

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Love That Name, but…

Wherever Ewe Go, There Ewe Are is the wonderful blog of today’s guest blogger formally known as “Ewe,” an American living in the United Kingdom with her Scottish husband.  She’s the mom of two sons, ages four and two, and is expecting a daughter, known for now as Lambchop.

I always thought I’d know exactly what I would name my daughter, but now that I’m actually having one, I’m seriously waffling. There are soooo many lovely girl names out there. And as a result, some of my ‘sure thing’ name combination options aren’t looking so ‘sure thing’ anymore. In fact, a whole slew of girls names that I have always thought I would give ultra-serious consideration to were almost immediately off the table for a whole variety of reasons.

Here, girls’ names I love and admire….but WON’T be using.

1. FREYA. I adore the name Freya. In fact, back when I was pregnant with Boo, before I knew Boo was a “he”, Freya was at the top of my list for a wee girl. It’s a gorgeous name that doesn’t even crack the top 1000 list in the U.S., which is a head-scratcher for me because it’s a chronic top 20 name in England and Scotland. But, sadly, that’s why we took it off our list now that we’re actually having a girl; it’s waaaay too popular here. I see so many little Freyas everywhere I go here. If we lived in the states, this would be our likely choice. But we don’t, so it’s out.

2. MALIA. Another long, long-time favorite name. One of my sister’s best friends growing up was named Malia; and I fell even more in love with it during my six years in Hawaii. It’s just so pretty when it rolls off the tongue. But then we elected a new President last year, and guess what? His oldest girl’s name is Malia, which means it’s going to go straight up the popularity charts. Plus, it’s Hawaiian, and my husband isn’t quite as keen on the idea.

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