About the Book:
Title: My Name is Wakawakaloch!
Author: Chana Stiefel
Illustrator: Mary Sullivan
Pub. Date: August 27, 2019
Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I just love Wakawakaloch. From the very first page, readers know exactly how she is feeling. Using rich vocabulary, Author Chana Stiefel vividly describes Wakawakaloch as being in volcanic mood. The frustrated main character also grumbles, seethes, explodes, and sobs because others keep mispronouncing her name.
When Wakawakaloch shares with Elder Mooch that she wishes for an easy name, my heart hurt for her. But Elder Mooch sends her home with wise words-instead of being a forward thinker, Wakawakaloch must be a backward seer. What does that mean? Looking into the past helps Wakawakaloch understand the legacy of her unique and extraordinary name. With this new knowledge, Wakawakaloch embraces her name realizing she can help others who face a similar situation. Illustrator Mary Sullivan adorably captures Wakawakaloch’s transformation from frustrated to proud.
I can relate to Wakawakaloch a little. While my first name is easy to pronounce, my maiden name was Maliszewski. Not only was it difficult for others to pronounce, but also was hard to spell. When I began my teaching career, someone once said “Why don’t you just have your students call you Miss M? I didn’t even have to think. I immediately responded “Just because my name is hard to say doesn’t mean students can’t learn it.” And guess what? They did! When I got married, I wanted to hold on to my maiden name so I legally changed my middle name to Maliszewski. Names are part of who we are and although I love becoming a Mossa, I am glad Maliszewski is still with me.
With themes of identity, acceptance, and taking action, My Name is Wakawakaloch! is a perfect read aloud for the beginning of the school year especially as students are getting to know each other and teachers are building a classroom community with their kids.
For a sneak peek, check out the book trailer!
About the Author:
CHANA STIEFEL is the author of more than 25 books for kids about exploding volcanoes, stinky castles, and other fun stuff. In addition to My Name Is Wakawakaloch! she is the author of Daddy Depot, illustrated by Andy Snair (Feiwel & Friends, 2017). Recent nonfiction titles include Animals Zombies . . . . & Other Real-Life Monsters (National Geographic Kids, 2018), which was selected as a Top Ten YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers in 2019. Connect with Chana on her website at chanastiefel.com, Twitter @chanastiefel, and on Instagram @chanastiefel.
Praise for My Name is Wakawakaloch!
My Name is Wakawakaloch! Giveaway
One lucky winner will receive a copy of My Name is Wakawakaloch (U.S. addresses only) courtesy of HMH Books for Young Readers. Enter the giveaway below by Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 8 p.m. Winner will be notified on Monday, September 9, 2019.