Book Review: YOUR NAME IS A SONG

Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow | Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the technical aspects of this book. The experts are the book creators. The following comments are my opinions.

I grew up wishing my first name was spelled differently. Sometimes, I doodled spelling variations that I knew others would know how to pronounce.

I go by the name G.P. for different reasons. The main reason is to separate my writing world from my non-writing world. It’s also nice to have a break from correcting everyone. Nonetheless, it is still important to respect your given name. 

I love that YOUR NAME IS A SONG gives readers a tool to teach others how to pronounce their names. People love songs and a good song can do wonders for memory retention. I didn’t have this tool growing up but I’m glad today’s children do now. 

Technical Notes

Theme: Love your beautiful name

Point of View: 1st person

Tense: Present tense

Internal Journey: Her own acceptance of her name, and not the acceptance from others, is what counts. 

External Journey: She wants others to say her name properly. She doesn’t know how to resolve this problem. Thus, she shares negative school experiences with her mom. Her mom responds to each question and gives her a tool to use at school. It’s up to her to find the courage to speak up, sway non-believers, and overcome name mispronunciations on her journey.

Story Arc: Rags to riches 

Story Structure: Classic plot

Story Start | End: Opens with the main character (MC) outside a circle of children playing and ends with her inside the circle.

Plot type: Wish-fulfillment. The main character makes a specific wish in the opening sentence but that is at the surface and not her real wish. Her truth is that she wants others to say her name easily. 

Pacing: The more I wanted to know the MC’s beautiful name, the more compelled I was to turn the page. I got the emotional release at the end. Short simple sentences with short words quickened the pace. Longer passages slowed it. Briefly worded questions from the MC placed were before page turns, especially in middle of book. Sentences became shorter as the ending and big reveal neared, speeding up the pace. 

Dialogue: There is a lot of dialogue, which is not typical for picture books, but I think it’s appropriate because the story heavily relies on how people pronounce names. 

Illustration: Whimsical cloud bursts represent musical notes. Sometimes the bursts dip at moments of conflict. Art is most intense at the climax. 

Published by gpbellbooks

Picture Book Author

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