Meet Ari, a young person who doesn’t like to be called by their birth name Edward: “When I think of the name Edward, I imagine old kings who snore a lot.”
Throughout this beautiful and engaging picture book, we watch Ari grow up before our very eyes as they navigate the ins and outs of their gender identity; we see how, as a child, they prefer dolls and princess movies, and want to grow out their hair, though their father insists on cutting it short, “because that’s what boys look like.” At nine, they play hockey but wish they could try on their mother’s dresses; at fifteen, they shave their face, hoping to have smooth skin like girls. At sixteen, they want to run away, especially from their father who insists, “You’re a boy, so you have to act like one.”
Who will Ari become? Moving from age six to adolescence, The Name I Call Myself touchingly depicts Edward’s tender, solitary gender journey to Ari: a new life distinguished and made meaningful by self-acceptance and unconditional love. Ages 5 to 12.
About the Author
Hasan Namir is the author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning novel God In Pink (Arsenal Pulp Press) and the poetry book War/Torn (Book*hug). Born and raised in Iraq, he lives in Vancouver with his partner and their newborn child. Cathryn John is an illustrator and designer with a passion for social equity and the environment. Her practice includes a range of mediums from acrylic painting to woodworking. Cathryn is an international award-winning designer for “The Plant Project,” which works to improve people’s relationships with plants.
“Hasan Namir’s heartwarming book is a countdown to self-love. Each page is a lesson in courage through Namir’s succinct text and Cathryn John’s imaginative illustrations.” –Catherine Hernandez, author of I Promise and Scarborough