cover image My Name Is Sangoel

My Name Is Sangoel

Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed, , illus. by Catherine Stock. . Eerdmans, $17 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-8028-5307-3

In this uplifting story from the authors of Four Feet, Two Sandals , a boy moves from a Sudanese refugee camp to the U.S. with his mother and sister. “You will be Sangoel. Even in America,” an elder tells him. Yet everyone at his new school mispronounces his name. “In America I have lost my name,” he says sadly, and when Mama suggests adopting an American name, the elder's words “sang in his memory.” Inspired by his soccer team T-shirt (on which a ball replaces the letter “o”) the resourceful child draws a sun and a soccer goal on a shirt beneath the words, “My name is” to help his friends learn how to say his name correctly. Stock's (the Gus and Grandpa series) loose watercolors convey Sangoel's deep-felt emotions, though occasional collaged elements present some jarring juxtapositions (in the scene in which Sangoel and his family leave the camp, a few of the refugees bidding them farewell have photographic heads stuck on their painted bodies, while the others are entirely painted). A concluding note succinctly explains the plight of today's refugees. Ages 6–10. (July)