Even though it’s only four simple, familiar letters long, nobody can ever pronounce Thao’s name. She’s been called Theo, Tail, even Towel! But the teasing names—Tofu, Tiny, China Girl—are worse. Maybe it’s time to be someone else? Thao decides to try on a different name, something easy, like Jennifer.
It works, but only until she opens her lunchbox to find her mother’s Vietnamese spring rolls, gỏi cuốn—Thao’s favorite! Now, it feels a lot more comfortable to be herself.
Simple on the surface, this story inspired by Thao’s own childhood is full of humor, heart, and important ideas of diversity, inclusion, and cultural pride. The story will be instantly relatable to readers who have ever felt different.
Designed with a playful emphasis on typography, and Thao’s own childhood photos added to her signature cut-paper collage, THAO champions being true to yourself and your background, and being empathetic towards others. It is a celebration of all that’s in a name and the power of owning your identity.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 80 members
This was a cute book but maybe I missed it. How do you properly pronounce her name? I loved the illustrations and scrapbook/ paste up effects. Definitely something I would share with children with unique names.
Thao is a cute little book written with illustration about the author's identity. It deals with names, food, and any other things you may associate with a person's heritage. It's a cute little book, with a cute and heartwarming story and illustration. Albeit short, Thao manages to convey the message of being proud of your culture and yourself.
I love this. Thao Lam writes about being othered in school because of her name, an experience that many young children will be able to relate to. As always, I love Lam's art and use of mixed media. I really recommend this highly.
On the surface, Thao is a simple story about having a name that is continually mispronounced, but names hold a lot of power. Our identities are often intertwined with our names and have the ability to negatively affect us when no seems to get it right; thus, the desire to have a name that is more familiar and easier to pronounce--I am speaking from personal experience. Individuals with unfamiliar names (and potentially even those with unconventionally spelled names) will be able to relate to Thao Lam's story and will applaud the ending, which encourages individuals to be proud of their name and who they are.
This short picture book resonates so much with me as I, myself, am Vietnamese living in a Western country. In elementary school, students and teachers alike would struggle with pronouncing my Vietnamese name which in turn made me hate my name because why could no one pronounce it? So as a child, I asked my mum to change my name to Jennifer/Jenny as well but of course, being the Vietnamese mum that she is, she dismissed that proposition. But being an adult now, I'm very proud of my name and my heritage. Therefore, I would love to show my future children this lovely book.
This is a great story about a little girl struggling with her name. The illustrations are beautiful! I can’t wait to share this book with my students.