The Name I Call Myself
A sweet and moving picture book depicting Ari's gender journey from childhood to adolescence in order to discover who they really are.
Meet Ari, a young person who doesn't like to be called by their birth name Edward: "When I think of the name Edward, I imagine old kings who snore a lot." Throughout this beautiful and engaging picture book, we watch Ari grow up before our very eyes as they navigate the ins and outs of their gender identity; we see how, as a child, they prefer dolls and princess movies, and want to grow out their hair, though their father insists on cutting it short, "because thatâs what boys look like." At nine, they play hockey but wish they could try on their mother's dresses; at fifteen, they shave their face, hoping to have smooth skin like the girls. At sixteen, they want to run away, especially from their father, who insists, "You're a boy, so you have to act like one." Who will Ari become?
Moving from age six to adolescence, The Name I Call Myself touchingly depicts Edward's tender, solitary gender journey to Ari: a new life distinguished and made meaningful by self-acceptance and unconditional love.
All kids need to see that there are many ways to be in the world - and that even if some people don't understand, in the end, it is what you know about yourself that matters most. -Robin Stevenson, author of Pride Colors
Beautiful words and illustrations come together to show the vulnerability, endurance, and beauty of growing up, and finding the strength to be who you really are. -Dina Del Bucchia, author of Don't Tell Me What to Do
Hasan Namir (author) and Cathryn John (illustrator) build a meaningful back-and-forth dialogue between text and image in order to explore what it means to be a nonbinary young person in a less-than-welcoming world focused on binaries and conformity. -CM
What makes this work particularly impressive is how many of the concerns Ari faces are issues children encounter regardless of their gender identities. While Ari will particularly resonate with queer kids, their fears and secret joys are sure to speak volumes to any outsider or someone in need of a friend. -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Hasan Namir's heartwarming book is a countdown to self-love. Each page is a lesson in courage through Namir's succinct text and Cathryn John's imaginative illustrations.
-Catherine Hernandez, author of I Promise and Scarborough