cover image Say My Name

Say My Name

Joanna Ho, illus. by Khoa Le. HarperCollins, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-0632-0533-8

In a picture book that weaves ancestral and cultural identity into a fluid, rhythmic narrative, six children—of Chinese, Tongan, Persian, Diné, Nahua, and Ghanaian Akan descent—share the origins of their given names. “Each syllable,/ each sound,/ is a building block/ in an architecture/ constructed over oceans/ and across generations. Say my name,” Ho begins. On each page, one child introduces their name alongside their forbears’ legacy (“My family flows through me,/ pulling power from heaven/ with promises of peace/ and prosperity”). Le’s velvety, intricately rendered images, meanwhile, use burgundy and teal tones to delineate expansive landscapes and patterned motifs. Together, they create an affirming, uplifting work focused on how correct pronunciation honors and respects: “Say my name./ Anything less/ is not/ me.” A pronunciation guide concludes. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)