For many people, names are a connection to cultural roots, family, and identity. Names also come in the form of labels attributed to people and these also can be tied to identities, either positively or negatively. Here is a fantastic list of books that explore names and labels and why they matter to people.
Books about Names for Ages 3+
1. I Love My Name: A Children's Book Celebrating Diversity, Language, Culture and Heritage by Josephine Grant
This book encourages children to recognize the cultural traditions associated with names, as it celebrates the diversity of our community. It encourages children to see the positives of people from different backgrounds, cultures, and languages coming together.
2. My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner
This book explores the label 'refugee' through the inspirational stories of a young boy and his mother discussing the daunting and life-changing journey they are about to make. It shows children there are more to people than how they are labeled.
3. I Am Not a Label: 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present by Cerrie Burnell
Labels are sometimes how we identify others, but this entire book challenges perceptions of how people with disabilities or struggles with mental health are viewed and encourages us to look beyond the label.
4. That's Not My Name! by Anoosha Sye
Mirha is left wondering if she should find a new name after no one can pronounce hers on the first day of school. Then her mother tells her all about how special her name is and she is determined to help her classmates pronounce it properly.
5. Two Countries, One Me - What Is My Name?: A Children's Multicultural Picture Book by Bridget Yiadom
KJ's grandparents tell him about his Ghanaian and Nigerian names and the thought behind each. This book delves into the cultural significance and family identity that comes with an African or multicultural name.
6. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The Name Jar is a heart-warming story about Unhei, a Korean girl, starting school in America. She wants to pick an American name that will be easy for others to pronounce but instead learns to appreciate and be proud of her Korean name.
7. I'm a Baked Potato! by Elise Primavera
This funny story about a lost dog is a tale of discovered identity and belonging. It explores the different types of names we can have in life - the ones we are given and the ones we chose ourselves.
8. Name for Baby by Lizi Boyd
This gorgeous picture book follows Mother Mouse as she is trying to choose a name for her new baby. It explores the tradition of honoring others through the names picked for babies.
9. The Steves by Morag Hood
When two puffins named Steve meet, they get into an argument over having the same name. They eventually conclude that it is silly to argue and realise that it is not their name that makes them who they are.
10. The Change Your Name Store by Leanne Shirtliffe
When Wilma decides she no longer likes her name and wants to change it, she goes on a magical journey trying out new names and what it means to be the person with that name.
11. G My Name Is Girl: A Song of Celebration from Argentina to Zambia by Dawn Masi
This book is a wonderful A-Z representation of girls from around the world. It explores different names and cultures from around the world while celebrating global girlhood.
12. Daddy's Cheeky Monkey by Andrew Daddo & Emma Quay
This beautiful book celebrates the relationship between a child and their dad. Daddy's Cheeky Monkey is a celebration of the nicknames that parents give to their children and the love behind them.
13. You're Called What? by Kes Gray
In one of the silliest books ever, these animals want to change their names and have come to the Ministry of Silly Animal Names to do it!
14. Personalised Children's Books - The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name and Personalised Children's Books - The Little Boy Who Lost His Name by Wonderbly
These personalized stories are a lovely way to teach children about their name in their own custom book and how it makes them unique! This might just be one of the best books for babies birthday.
Books about Names for Ages 5+
15. Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Alma has six names and can't understand why she has so many. Her father begins to tell her the story of her names and learns more about where she came from and who has come before her.
16. My Name Is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry
Isabella dreams of big adventures, so she doesn't want to be Isabella, but instead one of the extraordinary women she looks up to. Her mother helps her to realize that she can be Isabella and has lots of time to be as extraordinary as her heroes.
17. My name is Hope: A story about love, courage and hope by Gilberto Mariscal
This heartwarming book is about how war can completely change a once happy life for people and force them into the unknown. Readers can reflect on how different life can be for some and why hope is important.
18. Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie
This story is about a boy named after his dad, who wants a name of his own. Thunder Boy Jr and his dad pick out a perfect name which is exactly what he's been looking for.
19. How Nivi Got Her Names by Charlene Chua Laura Deal
This book explores Inuit naming traditions and Inuit custom adoption through the story of Nivi's mother telling her all about the people she is named after.
20. Millions of Maxes by Meg Wolitzer
When Max starts school and discovers that he is not the only Max he is shocked. Through adventures with other Maxes in this charming story, he learns that our name alone is not the only thing that makes us special.
21. Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
This beautiful picture book tells the story of a mother teaching her daughter about the magic of her own name and others. This book also has a glossary of the names mentioned in the book with their meaning, origin, and, pronunciation.
22. The Not So Little Princess: What's My Name? by Wendy Finney
In this chapter book it's time for the Little Princess to be called by her real name as she is not so little anymore. The Little Princess is determined to find out her real name, but her parents are too scared to tell her as her real name is awful.
23. Know Me By My Name by Kirsty Webb
The characters in this book are on a mission to encourage children all over the world to accept each other for who they are and show that our differences can be positive and celebrated.
24. Thao: A Picture Book by Thao Lam
Thao decides that it's time to have a different name as she is sick of people either pronouncing it wrong and teasing her. This book is inspired by the author's own experiences growing up and touches on themes of inclusion and cultural pride.
Books about Names for Ages 7+
25. A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson
Dan is determined to piece his family back together after his dad left them. Dan's misunderstandings of situations see his character go through highs and lows, all while leaving the reader laughing out loud. This emotional tale is one of never losing hope.
26. My Brother's Name is Jessica by John Boyne
This must have book tells a poignant tale about a family's journey of acceptance when one member announces that they are transitioning.
27. Teach Us Your Name by Huda Essa
Kareemalayaseenadeen dreads the teacher taking attendance on the first day of school because she knows the teacher will pronounce her name wrong. This book shows that by taking the opportunity to learn from others, everyone can help children feel pride in their name.
28. My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
When María Isabel's teacher decides to call her by Mary as there's already another Maria in the class she is upset. She is named after her grandmothers and needs to make her teacher understand that her name is an important part of who she is.