One of the things I love about my neighborhood and by extension living in our town is the diversity of people I have gotten to know. Not just ethnic diversity, although that is certainly true, but the diversity of ages, experiences and interests.
One of the moms I have gotten to know in our neighborhood is Meena Kothandaraman who is the mother of two children, a vegetarian and daily yoga practitioner and is a seriously creative person. She just self published a children’s book that she has been very devoted to writing for awhile now, which is available for purchase through Amazon.
Can You Say My Name is a story for everyone who has ever had a name that is difficult to pronounce. It is a children’s book, but as someone who grew up with an unusual last name and who has moved quite a few times as both a child and an adult, I have spent a lot of time pronouncing and spelling my name in my lifetime. This book spoke to me.
The book focuses on the anxiety of a little girl who is getting ready to go to her first day of school and is worried that people won’t be able to say her name. She finds out that she is not the only one in the class to have an unusual name, and by sharing each of their names the students and teacher learn more about each other.
Meena has felt for a long time that there is a big gap in children’s literature in terms of stories that focus on Indian culture and more specifically, growing up bicultural. Her children are not biracial, both of their parents are Indian, but they are being raised with a deep awareness both of their American culture as well as their Indian culture. Meena decided to try her hand at filling that gap with this first effort. If things go well, she may write others.
I encourage you to check it out, and even purchase a copy. It is well written and beautifully illustrated. I will be getting several copies myself, and sharing a few copies with Cooper’s day care center.