Now here’s a girl after my own heart: My Name Is Mina

January 16, 2012 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

My Name Is Mina by David Almond; published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, New York; 2010.

Nine year old Mina keeps a journal.  What was once a blank book by her bedside is quickly filled with observations of life from her perch in a tree.  After some defiant outbursts at school, her widowed mother has decided to homeschool her.  Mum offers loving nudges in one direction or another, but for the most part, Mina is exploring the world through her extraordinary writing and observation skills.  Although the book appears to be about nothing in particular, by the end Mina’s growth is apparent.  Maybe she’s ready to step back into the world of school and friendships.

I really don’t know how to describe this book.  Like Mina, it was extraordinary.  Almond’s inclusion of “extraordinary activity” suggestions blew me away; I can think of dozens of patrons and former students that would jump at the opportunity to read a book that challenges them to try things Mina tried; to think outside the norm.  Expressing Mina’s growth through observations, poems and short stories is remarkable.  I did feel like I was reading a diary found under a mattress.
So, who will read this?  It is certainly not a book that will appeal to the general population.  However, there are so many children, girls in particular, who feel isolated and are looking for characters like them.  Well, as Mina discovers at the end of the book, to make friends you only have to introduce yourself.  Hello, my name is Mina.

By the way, this book is promoted as the prequel to Skellig.  I did not read that book.  This one stands on its own as realistic fiction.  Don’t let the “prequel” or the “fantasy” terms prevent you from reading or recommending this book!

For more information about the books or the author, and resources that include audio excerpts, visit


Entry filed under: Children's Chapter Book. Tags: , , , , .

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Leave a Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mary Debrick Chudzynski  |  January 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Interesting that the character is homeschooled. I imagine that the population of homeschooled kids will be a vast audience for this book! I wonder, though, if most homeschoolers aim to go back to a school setting or if they plan to stick with homeschooling once they start it. I love the idea of challenging my grandkids to perform these extraordinary tasks!

  • 2. Ellen L. Ramsey  |  January 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Sounds like an absolutely fascinating book. I’ll add it to my reading list!


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