Always Angali has been well loved and read almost daily in our home for the past 2 weeks. The story begins with Angali, excited for her 7th birthday and delighted to find her parents have given her a brand new bike. To celebrate, she bikes with her friends to a nearby carnival where they stumble upon a booth selling fashion license plates. Her friends Mary and Courtney find license plates with their names easily, but when Angali spells her name, the clerk scoffs and hands her one with “Angela,” on it, before an older boy, overhearing the interaction proceeds to taunt and bully her, calling her name weird and name calling her “peanut butter an-jelly.”
Distraught and in tears, Anjali speeds home where declares to her family she wants to be called Angie henceforth, as Anjali is too confusing- no one can spell it, pronounce it, simply put, she’s decided she now hates her name! Her parents listen and soothe, explaining the history of her name, it’s meaning in Sanskrit, and how her family’s names connect them to their family in India. Angali is skeptical but after some thought, decided to take matters into her own hands with an inspiring idea...
This is a wonderful story, and we’ve really enjoyed reading it aloud nightly and the conversations about inclusion, kindness, and the joys of not being like everyone else that have ensued. Also a good book for any child whose never found their name license plate in one of those cookie cutter stands. Embrace your name, your unique identity, and celebrate being the one and only you!