For someone who has not read a lot of children’s books authored by Ghanaians, I was skeptical about Names. The title leaves you with a curiousity about what the story is about. I was pleasantly surprised. NAMES by Beatrice Opoku Asare is a children’s book for ages three to eight that draws you in with its beautiful, refreshing cover page. A win for the African child as a gorgeous little girl, glows on the cover of the book surrounded by names from many countries.
Inspired by her own experiences and her children’s frustrations with others’ mispronouncing their names especially in other countries, this book resonates with a lot of people with unique and sometimes difficult-to-say type of names. Set in the United States of America, I surprisingly find myself relating to what Adwoa, the main character, goes through in the book.
Names are powerful identifiers and it hurts to constantly hear your name mispronounced. The author beautifully tells a story and articulates what many have experienced and helps address this challenge. Instead of a vindictive tone, the author uses a gentle approach to show that these mispronunciations are not always intended, contrary to what many narratives may assert.
The illustrations in the book take this masterpiece a notch higher. It beautifully adds up to the story instead of taking from it. The representation of the African child is refreshing to see and a great way to change the stereotype made over the years. It is an announcement that black is beautiful and unique names are also beautiful and enchanting.
The wording of the story is refreshingly easy as expected for children. It also breaks down the complexities of name, cultural sensitivity, and identity to everyone who reads it without the hard-hitting awkwardness that comes with such discussions. There is empathy for both the person bearing the mispronounced names and those who mispronounce them.
Thankfully, the author does not drag the story. It is concise and sticks to the central theme of the story. This is commendable and suits the targeted audience just perfectly.
For a first-time author, Beatrice Opoku-Asare did incredibly well, especially with this masterpiece in the form of a children’s book. It hooks you from the beginning and gives you more to the very end. All in all, this book is a great recommendation for both children with unique but hard-to-say names and those with easy-to-recognize names. An excellent addition to libraries, schools and homes.
The book will be out by August 1st, 2023 with paperback and e-books available on Amazon, Sayda Hub, Selar, and Booknook to cater to everyone irrespective of their location.
The author, Beatrice Opoku-Asare is a Ghanaian who spends her time in Ghana and the United States of America. A wife and mother of two wonderful children.
NAMES is published by Lumiere Creatif; a marketing communications and cutting edge publishing firm, placing authors in limelight.