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Friday, January 20, 2012

Picture Book Friday: My Name Is Sangoel


Title: My Name is Sangoel

Author: Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed

Age: 7 – 9 years

Publisher: Eerdmans: June 1, 2009

Theme/Topics: self-identity and belonging, refugee, new home/country, making new friends, loss/loneliness.

Opening:  
Don’t worry, the wise one said as Sangoel prepared to the leave the refugee camp. “You carry a Dinka name. It is the name of your father and of your ancestors before him.
     The wise man hugged him and Sangoel could feel his bones in his thin arms. “Remember, you will always be a Dinka. You will be Sangoel. Even in America.”

Synopsis:
     Sangoel is a refugee. Leaving behind his homeland of Sudan, where his father died in the war, he has little to call his own other than his name, a Dinka name handed down proudly from his father and grandfather before him.

     When Sangoel and his mother and sister arrive in the United States, everything seems very strange and unlike home. In this busy, noisy place, with its escalators and television sets and traffic and snow, Sangoel quietly endures the fact that no one is able to pronounce his name. Lonely and homesick, he finally comes up with an ingenious solution to this problem, and in the process he at last begins to feel at home.
Resources:


Why I like this book: I love books where the main character, the child, can identify their problem and then solve their problem. Most times I think adults do not give children the credit they deserve and opportunity to shine. In this story, Sangoel does just that. He shines. A Dinka refugee from Sudan, Sangoel has nothing but his mother, sister and his name. A name he is proud of. But it is also a name no one can pronounce correctly. Most immigrants I know change their names to something easy, more American. But not Sangoel. He finds a fun and creative way to keep his Dinka name and pride while teaching others how to say his name correctly. In fact, I was not pronouncing his name right as I read the book until I got to the end and say OOOOOHHHHH! That’s how you say it!!! J

17 comments:

Julie Hedlund said...

Ooo now I want to know how to pronounce the name. Guess I'll have to get the book, which sounds amazing, btw!

Patricia T. said...

Oh, I really like this book. There are so many immigrants coming from Sudan into the US, that it is a perfect book for the times. But, also has universal appeal. And, I'm glad the author let the child solve his own problem -- very powerful. I am so glad you shared this book as I definitely want to read it. Thanks for sharing.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

What a teaser! Now I HAVE to read this book because I'm quite sure I'm mispronouncing his name in my head :) THis sounds like a wonderful book, and I'm so glad you shared it. With the exception of Four Feet, Two Sandals, I don't think we have anything remotely like this on the list, and certainly not about a child trying to adjust to a new culture. Thanks so much for sharing. And please be sure to add your book to the list on my blog so people will come over and see your post!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

P.S. Your link wasn't up yet, so I added it to the list! You'll find it at #26

thiskidreviewsbooks.com said...

What a great book! My grandmother told me they changed her grandfather's name when he came to the USA because they did not know how to pronounce it. I've never heard of a picture book on this subject. Thanks for telling us about it!

Joanna said...

Wow, I like the idea that the reader is going to make the mistake all Sangoel's new American friends make, in pronunciation. I have met some Dinka and would certainly love this book. Names are SO important too.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I always enjoy your selections. It's an interesting topic, too. I do my best to pronounce names correctly. I want to read this to see how he solves the problem.

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

It is well worth the read and addition to any classroom/home library :)

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

I think that is what I really enjoyed about it to, Sangoel being able to find his own solution to something he felt was very important to him.

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Thank you Susanna!!!!

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Thank you Stacy :)

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

You are welcome :)

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

hehe, yeah I was pretty shocked I was pronouncing it wrong. I had to read it again once I learned the correct pronunciation :)

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

lol! glad I got you hooked! it really is a wonderful story.

Jennifer Lee Young said...

I like your review and agree with you on books where the mc solves their own problems. I'll be looking for this one next time I'm out. Thanks!

Loni Edwards said...

Wow! This sounds like a fantastic book. Great review.

Renee LaTulippe said...

ACK! And you're leaving us with this cliffhanger? True story: My name is French, and Renee has an accent aigu over the second e. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher kept crossing out the accent when I wrote my name. I remember crying to my mom about it, so she wrote a note saying the accent was part of my name and to leave it alone! Then there is the problem of my last name. To me, it's perfectly clear and easy, but I have endured a lifetime of mispronunciation, the most common being LATWIPPE and LOTTALOOPY! I finally resorted to saying my name like this: LA (singing the note) TWO (holding up two fingers) LIP (pointing to lip). I live in Italy now, and everyone pronounces it correctly -- at last! :)


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