Saturday, December 12, 2009
The African Book of Names
Quick. If you saw this name come across your desk, how would you pronounce it?
Answer in a second.
Anyway, still in the midst of the holidays... and another book that would make for great discussion and gift for a family is The African Book of Names. It's by Ashkari Hodari.
The book contains over 5,000 names -- common and uncommon -- from the African continent, plus their meanings. That part, the meanings, is really important... especially in larger cities in the U.S. where sometimes people name their kids with no rhyme or reason, other than it sounds pretty.
But what's even more exciting about this book... is that it points out that new names aren't just for babies. Many adults, once they've grown into/become enlightened/empowered in African identity, will change or take on new names.
Another thing about this book... is if it's endorsed on the cover by author and social change agent Pearl Cleage, then it's got to be good.
So back to the name at the beginning of this blog, La-a. Any guesses? How did you pronounce it?
It's pronounced: La-Dash-a
I got it in an email forward from a kindergarten teacher in Detroit. She wanted to share some of the interesting and unique names that came across her roster at the beginning of the school year. Another one, which clearly stood out to me...
Shebraska... it rhymes with the state, Nebraska. Both names, clearly not African, but from a primarily African American city where a book like The African Book of Names could come in quite handy.