Author: Annika Dunklee
Illustrator: Matthew Forsythe
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: September 2011
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: Meet Elizabeth. She's got an excellent pet duck, a loving granddad and a first name that's just awesome. After all, she's got a queen named after her So she's really not amused when people insist on using nicknames like "Lizzy" and "Beth." She bears her frustration in silence until an otherwise ordinary autumn day, when she discovers her power to change things once and for all. In the process, Elizabeth learns about communication and respect -- and their roles in building better relationships with family and friends. The two-toned illustrations reflect the story's energy and sass, and the comic-book-like format makes it easy to follow. The cheeky, retro drawings also keep it real -- depicting the sometimes-feisty Elizabeth as a resolutely normal kid -- whether she's flossing her teeth or feeding her pet duck.
What I Think: If you have read any of my conversations about books with Colby during our I-94 Book Club, you might have read that I was shy when I was young. New experiences made me nervous because I had no idea what to expect, and experiences that didn't go as I planned or hoped or dreamed, made me sad. This book reminds me of that in a way - except Elizabeth has the audacity to stand up for herself. I admire her for that, even if she does seem a little forward at times. I would have loved to have read her story as a child and to try to be like Elizabeth and to have her courage.
Today, I have clear memories of times when I was frustrated but not able to stand up for myself. Fortunately, today, I also have grown into an adult who is ready and willing to stand up for herself or others. As a mom, I think so much about how to help teach my kids to say what needs to be said and to not be afraid. I don't want my kids to wish they had spoken up and to feel bad that they didn't. My Name is Elizabeth definitely helps facilitate a conversation about believing in something and telling people when they are doing something that bothers you. As adults who work with students, it's important to talk to them about advocating for themselves in a respectful way in order to help them become more independent.
I also love the end of this book! It's such a sweet ending and I think it also facilitates a conversation about how we have to be lenient in some things and compromise to a certain extent.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 12
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 4
Read With: Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born and When I Was Little: A Four-Year Old's Memory of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis, "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros (short story), Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
Snatch of Text:
"My NAME is ELIZABETH Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones"Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Making Predictions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Talk to your parents about your name and how they chose it, then write the story they told you. Or look up your name and find the meaning of it; do you think your name "fits" you and who you are? Write about a time in your life when someone called you a nickname or another name that you disliked. How did you handle the situation?
Topics Covered: Identity, Family, Friends, Community, Names, Siblings, Opinions, Standing Up For What You Believe In, Respect, Advocacy
Jen *hearts* It: