***Disclosure: I received a complimentary sample to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Sophie was easy. You see, my Grandma, who I love more than anyone else on this planet aside from my husband and kids, is named Sophia. She has never gone by it, though. She's always just been called by her middle name, Sue. Also, I love Sophia Petrillo from The Golden Girls. (Don't judge. You know you love that feisty old broad, too!) My Sophie's middle name is Suzanne. This is in honor of my beautiful mother in law who passed away several years ago after a courageous battle against Melanoma. I knew her when I was a child, and she was absolutely amazing and kind. She was the kind of Mom every kid wishes they had. She was literally June Cleaver. She was always smiling, always loving, and always greeted her children's friends with a cold drink and a sandwich or homemade baked goods of some kind. Honoring her was no-brainer, and Sophia Suzanne just flows very nicely.
Xander on the other hand was a different story altogether. We were SURE he was another girl. We never gave boys' names a second thought. Until, that is, we saw a very distinct winky in the ultrasound during the 20 week anatomy scan. Oops! So we had to come up with a boy's name that we liked. I don't really care for plain sounding names like John or Michael or Thomas. We like names that are a bit different without being too over the top or bizarre. After hours and hours of scouring our baby name books and surfing the web, we settled on Xander Eric. Xander we just liked, (and no, we do not watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor have I ever seen the Vin Diesel movie, "XXX".) Eric is my husband's middle name and his father's middle name as well.
A Book to Help Kids Appreciate Their Name Is Here!
Choosing a first name is the theme of an endearing new hardcover children's book, My Name Is Leona. The little girl's quest of finally appreciating her unusual name won the hearts of this year's Mom's Choice Awards' judges, giving the sweetly illustrated book its coveted 2013 Gold rating.
Ever ponder how George and North will react to their name when they enter school? Little Leona, the main character in the debut book by Carol Gahara Harris, doesn't like her name. In fact she doesn't know any of her peers that have the same name. In page after page of lyrical rhymes, Leona realizes that choosing a name for her beloved pets -- a goldfish and a cat -- is a tough task. The name has to be just right. In that a-ha moment, she asks her parents how "Leona" was
chosen as the perfect name for her. Once she learns its meaning and the love behind the name, it becomes ideal, just like her!
My Name Is Leona is now available at the author's website, www.CarolGaharaHarris.com and at
amazon.com, along with some local Michigan and Texas stores. The book was written with a child’s heart in mind and embraces children’s feelings about this sensitive topic.
There are several charity ties coming in the next few months, such as a book reading to hospitalized children at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas, book signing with portion of proceeds benefitting Nino Salvaggio ‘s Charitable Foundation for Children in Need, in the author’s hometown of Clinton Township, Michigan, and a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital held at local restaurant J. Baldwin’s Restaurant, also in Clinton Township.
Our Thoughts About the Book :
My Name is Leona is written in a gentle, magical tone that is easy for little ones to understand. It is accompanied by beautiful illustrations that help to tell Leona's journey into self-acceptance and pride in herself. My preschoolers absolutely loved looking at the pictures as I read them this story.
One thing I definitely appreciate is the fact that Leona is trying to name her pets the perfect names. We have 4 cats, Noodles, Pringles, Truffles, and Havarti, as well as 3 puppies, Snickers, Trouble, and Bear. (Yep. It's one big happy family here!) So my kids could definitely relate to the love a child has for their fur (or fish!) babies, and they also liked the fact that Leona got to help name them. (My kids did, too, hence all the funny food names for our pets!)
Overall, this is a story about embracing the things that make us different and unique, and being proud to be uniquely YOU. This is such a valuable lesson for little ones, and it's presented in a fun and relatable way. Sometimes a little bit of self-discovery leads to a new sense of self-esteem. So rather than hating that odd name that it seems no one else has, be proud of the love and care that went into choosing it. (Unless your name is Mildred. Then I don't know what to tell you, haha. Just kidding, of course!) I would definitely recommend checking out this awesome story and sharing it with your children or grandchildren. It's sure to become a fast favorite, and even get some giggles.