Your Name is a Song
On one of the pages, the girl worries that her name sounds made-up. Her mother explains that, "some made-up names come from dreams. Real names were stolen long ago so they dream up new ones....Ta'jae, Trayvon...They sit on clouds with Jalonte..." This reference to the effects of American chattel slavery today, the theft of ancestral knowledge, is important for students and adults to hear.
When you read this book, it feels as if there is music in the background, making it the perfect text for music lovers, so everyone.-Dena
Social Justice Activities:
Use FlipGrid to record students pronouncing their names correctly and sharing why their names are special. Give students time to listen and comment on their classmates names to build classroom community and allow students time to listen to correct pronunciation. (Identity 4)
Explore making a song using students' names. It can be as simple as hitting your thighs to make a beat or you as intricate and enlisting the school music teacher for help. (Diversity 9)
The child in the story describes several ways people were disrespectful about her name. With each way, brainstorm with students responses that address the issue. Use public speaking, art, music, writing or any other mode to share with people outside the classroom community why it is important to pronounce names correctly. (Action 18)
Relevant Social Justice Standards:
Identity 4. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.
Diversity 9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.
Action 18. Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias.'
Figurative Language: The title is a metaphor and the book is filled with metaphors and similes. The mother also uses beautiful descriptive words to describe names, make a list of all the words to enhance writing.
Speaking & Listening: Build community by having students record a video on FlipGrid, pronouncing their full name and telling something special about their name. This will allow students and teachers to watch the video as many times as needed to memorize names correctly.
- Fiction, All Ages
- Perspectives: Black & Muslim
- Author's stated heritage: Black & Muslim
- Subject Integration: Music, Art, Writing
Listen to the Author
The Author pronounces all the names in the book.