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  • Writer's pictureShameer Bismilla

That's Not My Name

This book certainly hit home. It struck a chord as it reminded me of how my name was constantly mispronounced during my primary school years. I am sure hundreds of readers will tell us about their own experiences of how their names were being butchered as they grew up. Looking back, I wish I had stepped up and said more, but I did what I could to just follow along and fit in. Anoosha Syed has placed great emphasis on the idea that names play an important role in extension of our identities and are deeply rooted in family, culture and religion. Inclusion and equity in school must include the importance of pronouncing a name.

I am inspired to see the main character Mirha overcome her insecurities and shyness as she stands up for herself when people mispronounce her name. I can see the impact this book has on us teachers. We have to honour our students' names as it is a building block in creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom. I have learned that although when we are learning to pronounce our students’ names, we are showing respect, that doesn't necessarily mean we need to nail the pronunciation on our first try. We are human, we can’t say every sound or name in the world, but what matters most is how we respond at our first attempt.

We need to own our errors, apologise if we mispronounce and clarify so that we can get it right. They will feel appreciated, supported and empowered. All in all, I would highly recommend this book from the brilliant author-illustrator!


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