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My Name Is Not Ed Tug

A name is one of the most important identifying features about a person.  It is one of the very first decisions that is made for you and you have no control or say in the matter.  Many people like their names, or learn to live with a nickname, some people do not.  When you get older you can change your name.  Sometimes people change their names or find themselves in the position of having to name another person.  Even young children name things; pets, stuffed animals, toys.  The process of naming someone or something is a very important and meaningful endeavor. 

Have you ever seen your list of incoming students and thought, “How do I say THAT name?”  Do you ever come up with a shortened version of a name because it is easier, or because you have two students with the same name, “just to make it easier for everyone?” Each new school year gives us the opportunity to learn the names of students, both given names and nicknames.  It is one of the most important jobs we have on the first day of school because we only have one chance to get it right.  Pronouncing a student’s name correctly and then calling that child by their preferred name is the basis of the student and teacher relationship and relationships are everything! 

 I have known Amy Nielander, author and illustrator of My Name is Not Ed Tug for many years.  Her first book, The Ladybug Race, is a HUGE hit at our school as the ladybug is our school mascot.  Amy does a virtual visit with our fourth graders every fall and the students know her and her work.  Kindness is an important theme in all of her books and students are quick to pick up this theme.  Her latest book, My Name is Not Ed Tug will quickly become a first day of school, “must read.”  Amy’s message to readers about being comfortable with who you are, pride in oneself and connecting with others is woven throughout the story. There is also a powerful message to teachers about the importance of “getting it right,” with students, even if a student’s name is challenging. The illustrations are incredible and the students LOVED noticing the subtle changes in the end papers so make sure to check them out!

What students had to say:

  • This book made ME feel special and loved.
  • I loved this book.  It made me feel happy and I loved the illustrations.
  • The lesson is that you are perfect just the way you are.
  • Everyone is different and some people can change for the better.
  • Don’t be ashamed of your name, your name is the best name for you!
  • I loved how the author described how it felt when the kids got his name right.
  • I felt happy when they got his name right.
  • I liked when Ed Tug helped everyone remember his name.
  • The lessons are that your name matters and that it is perfect just the way it is.
  • The lesson is that you are great just the way you are.

Amy Nielander is one of those unique authors who knows how to make readers feel special and important. Students are able to make connections with her characters very easily.  Amy’s beautiful illustrations, paired with the message in My Name is Not Ed Tug, resonates with students.  Her love of children and the importance of making everyone feel included and loved shines through on every page. Read it to your students now and make sure to read it to your new students next year.  It is sure to become a classic!

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