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That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed – Book Review

Sep 5th 2023

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed is the beautifully illustrated story of young Mirha on her first days at school.
Mirha is so excited to start school, however, even after introducing herself to the class – “My name is Mirha!” – nobody can
seem to pronounce her name right.

Mirha’s classmates call her all sorts of names, Mina, Meera, Neha and Mara amongst others. Even the teachers can’t get it right. Mirha starts to feel anger and shame because of her name, wondering why others can’t say it correctly when her Mama, Baba and Nani can. She starts to wonder if she should change her name to something easier to pronounce, and then maybe she can make some friends.

However, Mama is not happy with Mirha’s plan. She tells Mirha that she has a beautiful name, that it means ‘happiness’ in Arabic, and that she should never change her unique and special name for anyone. Mirha’s Mama tells her:

“If people can remember names like Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo, they can remember Mirha!”

Mirha goes back to school with the confidence to correct people when they get her name wrong. She makes lots of new friends, each with their own unique and beautiful names, Laila, Siobhan, Dmitry and Aiko. Mirha makes sure to always say them right.

That’s Not My Name! teaches children the importance of respecting peoples’ names, even when the name is one you may not be familiar with. Names can represent a lot about you – who you are, where you come from, what your parents wish for you. Our names can have deep cultural, historical or familial meaning, and making the effort to pronounce someone’s name correctly can go a long way to make them feel included. Our name is a part of our identity and is a large part of how we move through the world every day. This book will gently help children to see that their words matter, by showing the emotional impact that they can have on others.

This book is suitable for KS1 and would make a wonderful addition to any classroom with children whose names are repeatedly mispronounced like Mirha’s. It would show those children that it is OK to ask people to say their name correctly and show their classmates why doing so is so important.

Buy That’s Not My Name by Anoosha Syed from Peter’s here.

Follow Anoosha Syed on Instagram, Twitter, and see more of her beautiful illustrations on her portfolio here.