WOW Dozen: Multiple Perspectives on Names and Naming

By Janine M. Schall, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

People’s names are one of the foundational building blocks of identity. Whether it is a name we are given or one that we choose for ourselves, names can carry multiple layers of meaning, including culture, history, connections to heritage and family, or an expression of personality. In addition to the names of people, names of animals, plants, and other things can also carry historical and cultural meanings.

Most people have more than one name: a legal first name, one or more middle and last names, nicknames (sometimes multiple) given to us by family or friends, and usernames associated with social media accounts. In addition, many people have a religious name and/or a traditional name connected to their culture. There may be specific naming practices or rituals within cultures or groups and names may change, voluntarily or involuntarily, at different stages of life such as adoption, coming of age, or marriage. Continue reading

Imagination Friday with Joanna Ho

a boy and a girl speaking to each other through speech bubblesMeet Joanna Ho, the author and illustrator of Say My Name. Names reveal generational ties and histories, weaving an intricate tale of the past. Names — and correctly saying them — are important. Each one carries the hopes, dreams and traditions of those that came before us. Six captivating kids of Chinese, Tongan, Persian, Diné, Mexican and Ghanaian descent proudly celebrate their names, languages and cultures. Joanna Ho’s lyrical story explains how saying a person’s name is the only way we can truly know another.

Joanna will share her new book and process in creating the story, invite children to participate in an activity and answer questions.

Host: Kathy Short, UArizona Regents Professor and Director of WOW.
Panelist: Joanna Ho
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books

Woman looks over her shoulder smiling

Photo by Katie Heiner

Joanna Ho Joanna Ho is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books for children, including Eyes that Kiss at the Corners, Playing at the Border, and Say My Name. She is a writer and educator with a passion for anti-bias, anti-racism and equity work. She has been an English teacher, a dean, the designer of an alternative-to-prison program, a creator of educator professional development, and a high school vice principal. She lives in the Bay Area, where she survives on homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures, and dance parties with her kids.

Imagination Fridays is co-sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words/University of Arizona and will occur from 1-1:45 p.m. once a month on a Friday from September to December with a different author or illustrator. Add some excitement to Fridays with world-renowned children’s authors and illustrators to promote new books and encourage children as readers, writers and illustrators.

Tucson Festival of Books logo with sponsors listed