Here’s one I never thought I’d read in my lifetime. Baby name books, while interesting in their own right, have never been the type of “literature” I’m prone to just pick up and read. I leave that job to my niece.  But I HAVE read some, and I have to agree with Hodari, African names are hugely underrepresented in most baby name books. Most of the names are fairly Eurocentric with some common outliers like Hebrew, but Africa is a huge continent and naming people is very important in African cultures.

This book exists to help counter that trend. This book is not just for naming babies, although it’s an obvious tool for that as well. Hodari also recommends it to be used for people who are wishing to go through a renaming ceremony to find a name that more accurately represents how they identify themselves in a move away from their previously held “slave name” they were given at birth.

Most naming books are divided in two sections for boys and girls, but this one is great because it’s listed in sections based on their meanings.  Many of the names are gender neutral, but the author does list if they are intended as male or female specific. She also includes a helpful section with ideas on how to choose a name.  Things to think about like, do you want it to rhyme? Or how any names will you give? How do they sound together? How significant is the meaning to you? Should the person be named after a relative? If you’re wanting to preserve part of the past identity, is there an African name that sounds like or means the same as the previous name?

I’ll never get any real use out of this book, and it’s not something I’d ever consider re-reading, but if someone was looking to find an African name, I would certainly recommend it.

Rating = 3



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