By Chloe JonPaul, Illustrated by Danuta Zamojska Hutchins
Culanco Publications, $12.70, 41 pages
Alessandra Theresa Petrucci doesn’t like her name. She doesn’t understand why is has to be so long! Adults say, “Such a BIG name for such a little girl!” Until she goes to stay with her Nonna (grandmother), Alessandra realizes that she never knew the life story of her Italian great-great-grandmother, the woman whose name she inherited. Learn how Alessandra’s relative immigrated to the United States and made a life far from her native home. Find out what ultimately makes Alessandra very proud of her name.
After the story, the author includes a letter to readers about how she had trouble accepting her own name as a young girl. After doing research and experimenting with different versions, she came to accept it. Readers can also enjoy several activities relating to names including a list of amazing girls’ names like Pearl E. Whites, Dee Zaster, Peaches Honeyblossom, Ima Kettle, Summer Raine and Fifi Trixibelle! Have fun making two Italian recipes (Potato Gnocchi and Italian Pizzelle Cookies) that appear in the story. Danuta Zamojska Hutchins’ illustrations are colorful and charming. In the style of watercolor paintings captured from a child’s perspective, the pictures tell Alessandra’s story of discovery and self-acceptance.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin