By Jan Pease
Why do we name our children the names we give them? We name our children names we like, or family names, or names that don’t make unfortunate nicknames.
How do writers name characters? Elle Cosimano has written two books about a character with a memorable name, Nearly; she explains the name on her website, ellecosimano.com. “Nearly Gone” and “Nearly Found” tell about the life of a teen who tries to stay “under the radar,” because there are so many things in her life that would make her a target for bullies. Nearly has an unusual name, her mom works as a stripper, her dad has vanished, and they live in a trailer park in Washington D.C. There is a touch of the paranormal in the books, because Nearly has a gift for “tasting” the emotions of a person she touches. These thrillers begin slowly and build in suspense. Reviews were lukewarm for “Nearly Found,” but readers at amazon.com gave it five stars and the second book is loved by readers who were fans of the first book.
“Nimona,” by Noelle Stephenson, is a new graphic novel based on Stephenson’s web comic. The comic is no longer available online, because now the entire story is available in book form. Nimona is a shape shifter who constantly causes trouble. The character descriptions at gingerhaze.com/Nimona are hilarious and make me want to check out the book.
Finally, Rick Atkinson has adapted his book, “The Guns at Last Light,” for younger readers in “The Battle of the Bulge.” Some reviewers thought the book would be too difficult for its audience of 8-12 year olds, but I know that we have some incredible readers who tackle books if they are interested in the subject, and many young people are fascinated by the history of warfare. “The Battle of the Bulge” might help adults make sense of Hitler’s final attempt to break the Allied Forces. Great books are waiting for you at your public library.