Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Sandhya Parappukkaran, author of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name which is illustrated by Michelle Pereira and is a Bright Light 2021 publication by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing.
About Sandhya Parappukkaran
Sandhya Parappukkaran left her job as a Food Technologist so she could put her feet up and read. Then she rediscovered her passion for children’s books. She writes stories with themes of ‘embracing your cultural identity’ inspired by her South Indian heritage. Sandhya resides in Brisbane with her husband, three children and a backyard brimming with mango trees, curry leaves and green chillies.
About The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name
No-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.
When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts a new school, he knows he’s got to do something about his long name.
When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim — but deep down, it doesn’t feel right.
It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he is that Zimdalamashkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his name.
What I like about The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name
This is a beautiful book about culture and identity, about accepting ourselves and respecting others. As the blurb says, ‘No-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.’ Our names are an essential part of who we are.
In Australia, people often take liberties with the names of others, lengthening some, shortening others or creating a nickname from their parts, often without asking permission. Over the years, many from migrant families have Anglicised their names to make it easier for the English-speaking population to pronounce.
In both a profound and subtle way, through her story, Sandhya Parappukkaran shows us the importance of respect for others and their culture by something as simple, but significant, as learning to pronounce their names correctly.
Even Zimdalamashkermishkada had difficulty pronouncing his name. When his new friend Elly shortened it to Zim, he asked his mother if he could do the same. She explained, ‘We named you after the coconut trees that stretch high and hold up the sky while sheltering all underneath’, and she asked him to ‘Give people a chance to say it right.’
So, he does. As Elly teaches Zimdalamashkermishkada to skateboard, he teaches her to pronounce his name.
Continue reading: Interview with author Sandhya Parappukkaran – readilearn