cover image Your Name Is a Song

Your Name Is a Song

Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illus. by Luisa Uribe. Innovation, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-943147-72-4

A conversation between a girl and her mother distinguishes this poignant second picture book from educator Thompkins-Bigelow. Distraught that her classmates don’t pronounce her name correctly, a Black girl in goldenrod overalls complains to her Ummi, who wears a coral-colored headscarf, on the walk home. Describing the musicality of names, Momma encourages her daughter to “tell your teacher that your name is a song,” and expounds on others: “Take the name, Olumide (O-loo-muh-DAY)./ Olumide is a melody, girl! And so is Kotone (KOH-tow-neh).” With a creative answer for each of the child’s hesitations (“Made-up names come from dreamers.... They make a way out of no way, make names out of no names—pull them from the sky!”), Momma imparts wisdom that her daughter shares the next day, teaching her name’s correct pronunciation by singing it, and classmates’ names, during roll call. In subtly surfaced illustrations rendered digitally by Uribe, the girl traces names—including Trayvon—through a mellow-toned sky. A resonant tale that honors and celebrates a rich landscape of names. Back matter includes a glossary of names featured with pronunciations and origins. Ages 5–10. (July)