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My Name Is Sangoel

By: Karen Lynn Williams

Khadra Mohammed

Illustrator: Catherine Stock

When Sangoel's family leaves the refugee camp for their new home, the Wise One tells him, "Remember, you will always be a Dinka. You will be Sangoel. Even in America." For Sangoel, America is big and different and cold. No one can pronounce his name-not Mrs. Johnson, who meets his family at the airport, not the teacher, and not his classmates. Mama tells him, "America is our home now. Perhaps you need an American name." But Sangoel cannot forget the Wise One's words. Full-color mixed-media illustrations.

ISBN: 9780802853073

JLG Release: Sep 2009


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Refugees , Names , Sudan , Immigration , New experiences , Being a new student , Rebuses , Pride

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Easy Reading

Grades 1-3

12 titles/year

$182.40/year

Awards & Honors

IRA Children's Choices 2010, Young Readers; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2010, History/Life & Culture in the Americas

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Guide, School Library Journal

Horn Book

Eight-year-old Sangoel creates a shirt with a rebus (sun + goal) to help his classmates pronounce his name. Putting a face to today's Sudanese political refugees, the contemporary story reveals, with sensitivity, the difficulties children confront when adapting to a new country. Rich with patterns, Stock's expressive illustrations convey Sangoel's Eight-year-old Sangoel creates a shirt with a rebus (sun + goal) to help his classmates pronounce his name. Putting a face to today's Sudanese political refugees, the contemporary story reveals, with sensitivity, the difficulties children confront when adapting to a new country. Rich with patterns, Stock's expressive illustrations convey Sangoel's different emotions.

Junior Library Guild

How can a refugee, someone who has had to leave an entire life behind, maintain self-identity? My Name Is Sangoel asks this important question in the context of characters who have been forced to flee Sudan. Although this book could have been quite dark, the authors instead chose an approach focusing on the difficult yet necessary task of as How can a refugee, someone who has had to leave an entire life behind, maintain self-identity? My Name Is Sangoel asks this important question in the context of characters who have been forced to flee Sudan. Although this book could have been quite dark, the authors instead chose an approach focusing on the difficult yet necessary task of assimilation.

Small, concrete details convey Sangoel’s sense of alienation and confusion in his new home. Experiences familiar to readers seem new when narrated from Sangoel’s point of view. Television: “The TV was a box with real people inside. Lili cried when Sangoel turned it on. She cried again when he turned it off.” An airport: “The stairs moved. . . .Doors opened by magic.” Joining the soccer team: “Everyone on the team got a brand-new shirt.”

The vivid illustrations add to the story’s appeal. Catherine Stock draws people in a style that is loose without being cartoonish and sweet without being sentimental. Her visual characterizations help give the book its deep humanity. Sangoel’s loneliness, his teacher’s good intentions, and a classmate’s friendliness are made plain in the characters’ expressions and body language.

Ultimately, Sangoel finds a solution to his identity problem that is as creative and empowering as it is simple. It is the right ending to a story that combines complex themes with the most intimate details.

Book Details

ISBN

9780802853073

First Release

September 2009

Genre

Fiction.

Dewey Classification

E

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 11"

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

Level 3.2; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 2.1; Points: 2;

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Eerdmans

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Refugees, Names, Sudan, Immigration, New experiences, Being a new student, Rebuses, Pride,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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