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Text Sets is back and excited about a new school year! I know celebrating names is something teachers do early in the school year so this week, we’ll share some books that invite these conversations. I think it’s important that we don’t only share these books at the beginning of the school year. Many books about names are better shared once community is established. And of course, the books can also be revisited as part of a writing unit or for a reading mini lesson.
This week’s Text Set starts with a classic–Chrysanthemum. I’m starting with this one intentionally because I think if we are intentional about book choice, we layer texts and have several books that can explore a concept over time. We choose the books that we share because they naturally invite the conversations we hope have. As we work to expand and diversify the books we use, there will always be favorites that still work. The key is not using ONLY one book but to create a text set around a big idea so children have many stories to explore. When I taught K/1, Kevin Henkes was a favorite author and this book helped new readers pay attention to print and text and numbers of letters in names, etc. This book is still one of the best I know to help kids think about names from a print standpoint–to get them paying close attention to print. It is also great because of the theme and because it is often the first introduction young readers have to Kevin Henkes, an author we want them to know! Even though there are lots of new, wonderful books about names that I would also use, I wouldn’t get rid of this one!
That’s Not My Name is my new favorite book in this Text Set. The book was published this summer and does a great job of inviting conversations about the importance of pronouncing everyone’s name correctly. It is done so well for children (and adults) of all ages and the illustrations add a joyfulness to the idea of names that I love. If you are adding one new book to your collections of name books, I’d add this one for sure!
Alma and How She Got Her Name and How Nivi Got Her Names pair together well because they both tell the traditions of how names are chosen in families. In Alma and How She Got Her Name, Alma learns about all of the people she was named after. (Juana Martinez-Neal is another author/illustrator to highlight as she also has picture books, chapter books and more.)In How Nivi Got Her Names, Nivi also learns about the people she was named after as well as the traditions of Inuit naming traditions and their meanings. (And I had no idea how may books illustrated by Charlene Chua I have in my collection–another great illustrator to highlight!) Both of these books open conversations about the various wonderful ways that children’s names are chosen.
Your Name is a Song is another fabulous story that reminds us the importance of every name. Similar to That is Not My Name, the main character is dealing with the frustration of people at school mispronouncing her name. The response is a bit different but with the same important message and empowers her to go back to school with a new understanding. There is a history and music piece embedded in the theme and the author note and pronunciations of the names are an important piece to discussing the importance of celebrating every name. Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow has 3 picture books published and one on the way! I am pretty sure I’ll preorder everything she writes from here on out!
My Name is a Story is another brand new picture book. This one has so much possibility when I think about conversations that might happen. After having negative experiences around her name on the first day of school, her mother helps her understand the beauty in her name and in all that she is. Ashanti does a bit with acrostic poetry in a way that expands the idea beyond just a simple word–which would be great fun to talk about with young readers.
This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection.