My Name Is Sangoel

by Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed, and Catherine Stock

When Sangoel leaves the Sudanese refugee camp with his Mama and little sister, the... read more

When Sangoel leaves the Sudanese refugee camp with his Mama and little sister, the Wise One tells him, “you will always be a Dinka. You will be Sangoel. Even in America.” The family adjusts to their new life in an apartment with a telephone and TV, but the Americans who meet Sangoel all have trouble with his name. His schoolteacher, soccer coach, and the other kids struggle to pronounce “Sangoel” correctly, and he worries that he has lost his name. It’s the logo on his new soccer jersey that inspires Sangoel to use his markers on a plain white shirt. After writing the words “My name is,” he draws a sun and a soccer goal: sun-goal. His classmates are motivated to create pictograms for their names, and Sangoel’s teacher commends him for his good idea—and his good name. “It is the name of my father and my grandfather and his father before him… My name is Sangoel. Even in America.” An author’s note provides a short explanation about refugee life, both before and after relocation, and discusses how a name can connect people to their heritage. (Ages 5–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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