This phenomenal photograph koran ( illustrated by Luisa Uribe and published by Innovation Press ) is the history of a young daughter who doesn ’ t want to go back to school after the first day because no one is able pronounce her name…and of a mother who encourages her daughter to reframe and confront the situation in an empower way .
I had the opportunity to read an ARC of Your Name is a Song and before I was even half-way through, I knew this was going to be one of the star releases of the year. I reached out to Jamilah to find out the narrative behind YNIAS. here ’ s what she told me :
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TFB: The first time I read Your Name is a Song, I said to myself, “This one is really special.” What motivated you to write this particular story?
JT-B : I was motivated by the kids I ’ ve worked with throughout the years who have beautiful names but might not recognize those names as being so because of the ways their names are mispronounced or mocked. I ’ thousand hop they see themselves in the chief character ( whose name international relations and security network ’ t revealed until the end ) and go through the same empowering travel. I thought about how they probably needed an affirm voice telling another history about their names. Mispronouncing or mocking person ’ second name can be a manner of belittling a child evening if unintentionally, and I wanted those kids to come aside from reading this bible feeling fair equally gallant as the main quality .
TFB: Did anyone ever say or do anything to make you feel bad about your name growing up?
JT-B : A few times. I had a teacher call me Jamal all school year no matter how many times I corrected her. A male child used to call me Ja-Miller Lite for kicks. I think my twin brother got it the worst. His name is Bilal ( Bee-Laal ), which is the name of a very authoritative historic Muslim design, but kids would always call him “ Blah ” and snicker and teachers about never tried to get it right .
TFB: What was your reaction when you first saw the art for your YNIAS? Were you at all involved in the process of identifying the illustrator, Luisa Uribe?
JT-B : Love, sleep together, love ! I loved the art she produced from the start because I could see how much she loved these characters in the little details she included and the cheery color palette .
I decidedly had a voice in choosing the illustrator and we ( my editor program, agent, and I ) went through a count of portfolios before I was introduced to Luisa ’ randomness work. I saw her first sketches for the book and I knew she was right for it. Her oeuvre is visually sandbag, menstruation, but what ’ s more authoritative is from the start, she seemed incredibly attached to this undertaking. She seemed to love these characters and their history and it shows in her artwork.
TFB: Can you share your favorite spread for the book? Why is it your favorite?
JT-B : This interview is impossible to answer because I credibly have several favorites. Luisa did an amazing job ! One I adore that hasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate been shared as much in preview is a sensitive moment when Momma has helped our main character feel proud of her name and leaves her at the school cubic yard gate. This is this girl ’ sulfur meter to be strong on her own and Momma is giving her her bless and letting this girl know that she can decidedly handle this situation .
TFB: What are you hoping this story does for the reader? How do you hope it makes them feel? What do you hope someone might learn or take away?
JT-B : I ’ thousand hop that this is an empower and loving record for readers whose names haven ’ thymine constantly been indeed valued. I want these readers to feel that Momma has got their backs besides. I want them to feel like singing their names by the end of it. And I ’ megabyte hope that this reserve besides creates empathy, particularly from people who have names from the dominant polish and may never have thought about how the manner they treat the names of others can be demeaning .
TFB: Why is YNIAS an important book to use in classroom settings? Do you have any professional advice for educators on how they could or should use it with their students?
JT-B : For the lapp reasons I just stated : because it can empower and create empathy. This is particularly important in US classrooms that are taught predominantly by white teachers while the children in those classrooms are increasingly populated by Black children and children of color. I feel inaugural that teachers themselves may want to read and sit with Your Name is a Song and reflect on how they have treated students with names they found hard to pronounce in the past. Have they made jokes about certain kinds of names ? I think they need to make a commitment to respecting and saying the names of their modern students correctly, and they need to state this explicitly to students from the very first gear day of educate. And then, they need to do the study to get their names properly and to not embarrass them. Don ’ t make your first gear interaction with a scholar be you loudly taking attendance if that means loudly saying their name faulty. I say this as a early classroom teacher ; there are multiple ways to take attendance without doing the embarrassing first-day-of-school roll call. I think reading this bible aloud could be used to underscore that commitment and to besides have discussions about how to ensure everyone feels like their identities are validated in the classroom. I besides think this is a book that could launch a school year practice of celebrating and learning about identity and diversity.
TFB: If you were speaking directly to someone right know who had suffered any kind of microagression or traumatic experience regarding their name—or anything specific to their cultural identity—what would you want to say to them?
JT-B : I ’ five hundred say : READ MY BOOK ! Run out and buy it NOW ! I ’ m joke, but then again… I ’ megabyte not. I wrote this book specifically for the person you ’ re describe. In talking to adults who were able to review the record in boost, I ’ ve hear that this book was a heal book for them. This news “ healing ” has been used multiple times and I cherish and am humbled by that parole. I ’ ve read bloggers write again and again “ my name is a birdcall ” in their reviews after reading this book because they needed to say those words. Their younger selves needed those words. so, I say to that person, “ Your list is a song. ” Who you are is a birdcall. Your identity is beautiful, it is valuable, and you didn ’ metric ton deserve to have your identity–any aspect of it–treated that means .
Your name is a song is available wherever books are sold. Again, Happy Book Birthday, Jamilah !