Teach Us Your Name Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
by Huda Essa (hood-deh ee-sseh) - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of themselves and others.

Names carry weight. Our name and where we are from is a large part of what makes us who we are. Many times a name is said wrong or shortened to make pronouncing it easier for us, but for the other person it feels as if we are dismissing them. The book is written by a Muslim author and features a child with a name that is difficult to pronounce that means "excellent guidance." We can all feel inspired and proud of our name and where we come from. Knowing the history of our name and being able to share that history with others if we so choose is important. 

Literature Guide by Kaitlyn Pressnall

Before Reading

Ask: What do you think this story is about? What is the illustrator trying to show you on the front and back covers?

Show: Look at the front and back covers. Read the title of the book, as well as the author and illustrator. Point out the pronunciations of the author and illustrator’s names.

Connect: The story we will read tells about a girl with a different name and her journey to find the beauty in its uniqueness. She becomes an advocate for herself and her name. Do you know what an advocate is? Think about a time you have been an advocate for yourself or others.

During Reading

Ask: Why doesn’t the main character like her name?

Show: Look at the pictures. How does the main character’s facial expressions change from the beginning of the book to the end. What do you think causes this change? 

Connect: If you had the opportunity to teach someone in your community something new (about you or your interests) what would it be?

After Reading

Ask: How could Kareemalayaseenadeen help her school community to understand the importance in a name? 

Show: Look at the last picture in the book, what is happening?

Connect: Complete the task on the last page, How will you teach the world your wonderful, amazing, terrific name?



  1. Use this website to search for the meaning behind your name. 
  2. Watch this TED Talk with the author, explaining the power of a name. Find a way to share this information about the importance of names with your community.
  3. Find someone in your community who is from a different country than you and interview them about their culture.  For example, you might ask what their name means in their culture or what it was like to go to school in their home country. Make a poster or write a story explaining what they shared with you. Always get their permission before you share their story.  *During Covid-19 you might see if you can meet with the person virtually.
  4. Look at the picture of the main character on the airplane with the clipboard.  Pick a topic that you want to give your community guidance on.  For example, how to say your name, how to motivate you, how to make you feel appreciated and so many more. Make at least a 3 step plan like the main character did. Make public service announcements for your community to help them understand the topic you chose.
  5. Read The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi or My Name is Jorge by Jane Medina.