My Name is Wakawakaloch!
Author: Chana Stiefel
Illustrator: Mary Sullivan
Published August 27th, 2019 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Summary: In this lighthearted picture book, the intrepid, determined, and savvy Wakawakaloch learns to embrace what makes her special while lifting up her neanderthal community.
No one can pronounce Wakawakaloch’s name. Why couldn’t she be called something simple . . . like Gloop? That’s a name you can find on a T-shirt! But after a visit with her tribe’s elder, Wakawakaloch discovers what her name means, and how powerful names can be. Gloop may be easy to say, but the girl who helps her friends embrace differences and wear their names proudly? Her name is Wakawakaloch!
Praise: “Wakawakaloch’s frustrations surrounding the mispronunciation of her name will resonate with many. . . .This bombastic main character allows the story to shine.” —Kirkus
About the Author: CHANA STIEFEL is the author of more than 25 books for kids about exploding volcanoes, stinky castles, and other fun stuff. In addition to My Name Is Wakawakaloch! she is the author of Daddy Depot, illustrated by Andy Snair (Feiwel & Friends, 2017). Recent nonfiction titles include Animals Zombies . . . . & Other Real-Life Monsters (National Geographic Kids, 2018), which was selected as a Top Ten YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers in 2019. Check out the fun book trailer and more at her website: chanastiefel.com.
Review: This is such a timely books for classrooms, well for society in general! Pronouncing and remembering students’ names correctly is so important and not can have a lasting effect:
Wakawakaloch starts this conversation at a young age, not only for teachers but for other students. Name is part of our identity and Wakawakaloch should be mad that others aren’t trying!
Not only is the concept important, it is really well done! Done in a way that doesn’t feel preachy, is funny, but also still gets its message across clearly.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: If I was reading this aloud in my classroom, I would focus on the theme then complete activities about names. Every name has a story, either a personal one or a historical one.
(Please be careful about asking about history of names with all students as this may be a tough subject for anyone who doesn’t have access to a stable family environment to discuss why they were named their name. Make sure to have alternate assignments for this situation.)
- Why is it so important to know peoples’ names?
- Why is Wakawakaloch’s name so important?
- What does not learning someone’s name say to them?
Read This If You Love: What if We Were All the Same? by C.M. Harris, The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi, My Name is Elizabeth! by Annika Dunklee, Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
**Thank you Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review and giveaway!**