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Hannah is My Name

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
With Chinese-influenced paintings in jewel-like colors, Belle Yang tells an immigration tale that reflects one of the many facets of the American dream.

Hannah is my name in this new country. It doesn't sound at all like my
Chinese name, Na-Li, which means beautiful.

It's a long way from Taiwan to San Francisco, but Hannah's family has made the journey because they want to ma
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 19th 2004 by Candlewick Press
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Hannah Is My Name
Written by Belle Yang
Published by: Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA 2004
Approx. Interest Level: Grade 2-3
Belle provides an episodic view of immigrating to the United States from Taiwan in the 1960’s. This account is largely autobiographical and could be considered dated. The references to Taiwan could be seen as incorrect, and some of the characters involved in the story are extremely stereotypical, which create confusing messages about Taiwan, Chinese people, and immigration. Al
L13_F Sandra
Oct 20, 2013 L13_F Sandra rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
Hannah and her family move from Taiwan to San Francisco, CA in 1967 for a better life. They fill out the immigration papers and anxiously await their green cards so they can stay in the United States, all the while staying on alert so Baba doesn't get caught working without a green card and they get deported back to Taiwan. Hannah grows a whole 2 inches before they finally get their green cards and they are able to celebrate.

This book was listened to on Tumblebooks in English. Tumblebooks also h
Amy Chong
Oct 18, 2016 Amy Chong rated it really liked it
Hannah is My Name is about a young immigrant girl that has moved to San Francisco from Taiwan. Her parents work hard, and are constantly worried about if they will get caught for not having their green cards. When her mom cries, Hannah tries her best to cheer her up. At once point in the book, the door man helps them hide from the police. Hannah and her parents eventually gets their green cards in the mail and can now live without worrying. This book goes with my Asian Immigrant topic because th ...more
Paulinh Lim
Feb 25, 2017 Paulinh Lim rated it really liked it
Shelves: immigration

This book tells an inspiring and capturing story of a girl and her family entering the United States. This book is alluring yet suspenseful. With a new name, a new school, a new language, a new life, this story gives a whole new outlook of what it feels to be like a foreigner. I loved reading this book because I kind of saw myself in her; a little girl that’s finding her way into the lost crowd and eventually finding herself. I loved how this book provided a story with a clear picture and enhanc
Cara Byrne
Dec 19, 2016 Cara Byrne rated it really liked it
Based loosely on the author's own immigration story, this book is set in the 1970s and tells of a little girl and her family who immigrate from Taiwan and must work (and worry) discretely until their green cards come.
Jaimie Hong
Mar 08, 2015 Jaimie Hong rated it really liked it
Hannah's family moves from Taiwan to San Francisco in 1967 in hope for a better life. As soon as they arrive, they are told to go to Chinatown to fill out immigration papers so they could mail it out and receive their green cards. While waiting for their green cards, Hannah's mother gets fired because her boss found out that they did not have a green card. However, Hannah's father got hired at a hotel because he saved someone's life and because he had an "honest face". Hannah's father's boss sai ...more
Erica Cowhick
Oct 06, 2008 Erica Cowhick rated it it was ok
Hannah is from China and her Chinese name is Na-Li which means beautiful. Her family came to America and plan to stay and make it their home. Hannah struggles with the fact that it is not easy to become an American if you are not born here. This book talks about all the different struggles that the family faces when they arrive in America. The family must recieve green cards in order to have jobs to ensure inspectors that make surprise visits. Hannah is in first grade and is in the process of le ...more
Mike Romesburg
Sep 01, 2013 Mike Romesburg rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book reminded me so much of "My Name is Yoon." This story was very helpful for me as a growing teacher, but I am not entirely sure I would read it in class. Throughout the story, Hannah and her parents are very nervous about getting their green cards and on the lookout for the men in uniforms, who try to find immigrants without the cards. This could be confusing to students who do not understand what green cards are, and although this can be discussed, I'm not sure if it is the best thing t ...more
I liked this book, but it was long for a read aloud. I liked that it showed how a illegal immigrant felt while waiting for their visa. It had a child talk about it, which made it feel like less of an adult topic. I especially liked the scene where they got their green cards, and they were blue. I also liked the scene where they were running away from immigration people. I would use this book to talk about illegal immigration.
Interest Level
Grades 3 - 5
I love Belle Yang's book Hannah is My Name. The gouache illustrations are vivid and emotional, and the text is descriptive, honest, and heartfelt.

The book's opening line reads, "Hannah is my name in this new country. It doesn't sound at all like my Chinese name, Na-Li, which means beautiful." Yang writes the fictionalized immigrant story of the Lin family's journey from Taiwan to San Francisco in the United States in 1967 and the family's joys of living in a nation where "we will be free to say
Tiffany Askins
May 07, 2014 Tiffany Askins rated it really liked it
Hannah has just moved to a new country, new home, and new neighborhood. A lot of things are new, but she realizes that her parents have moved to America to have a better life. As Hannah adjust to her new surroundings, she is trying to adjust to her new name too. She takes the reader on a journey into her new world. Eventually Hannah embraces her American name while still cherishing her Taiwan name, Na-Li. This is just a fun book that I love to read. Typically I read this book at the beginning of ...more
Julie Esanu
Like many immigrants, Na-Li and her parents move from Taiwan to San Francisco in search of freedom and fair treatment. One of the adjustments she must make is getting used to her strange new name-- Hannah--and a new language. Hannah and her parents eagerly and anxiously await their green cards, which will allow the family to remain in the United States and open the door for new opportunities. A lovely book about immigration, family, perseverance, and opportunities, based on author's Belle Yang's ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-american
The ever-desired "American Dream." For many families it is way out of reach. Hannah Lin thought it would be for her family as well. Having studied immigration I understand this anticipation and worry. Life is supposed to be better here, a chance for success and all dreams coming true. To anxiously wait for the moment when you can continue those dreams is paralyzing. Yang expresses her anticiapation upon her family's arrival to the United States from Taiwan. The illustrations make this anxiety an ...more
Rachel Moulton
Jul 18, 2012 Rachel Moulton rated it really liked it
Shelves: text-set
Hannah, also known as Na-Li in her home country Taiwan, comes to American with her mother and grandfather in hopes for a better life. They want to have freedom and opportunities. Hannah's family applies to get green cards to stay in America. Her family lives in fear that they will be caught living in America without permission, and they struggle to have enough money to survive. Will her family get their green cards and be able to stay in America? Will Na-Li adjust to life in America and come to ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 12, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
The illustrations are beautiful and the story is heartfelt and educational too. But, the story is autobiographical about a girl from China who moves with her parents to San Francisco in the mid-late 1960s. I found this especially interesting since I was a teenager in San Francisco during that period. But, even though the immigration experience is timeless, I do wonder if today’s young kids would find it as interesting. I loved history when I was a kid so maybe so. I guess it’s just that I expect ...more
Beth Schencker
Sep 30, 2014 Beth Schencker rated it it was ok
Shelves: multicultural
A pleasant story about a Taiwanese girl who has moved to United States. The story follows Hannah and her parents starting a new life in San Francisco. The family applies for green cards but must wait a long time. After a few years, the family is given their green cards. "It is pale blue, not jade green like I expected. I think they should have called it a blue card, but maybe they just ran out of green paper this year". Now their new life can finally begin!
This book depicts the true hardships immigrants face while trying to become citizens and even after becoming citizens. I really liked the story line, however, I was not a fan of the illustrations. It was difficult for me to understand the time period until I came to the page where the students were told MLK had just been assassinated. But, I definitely liked that the story gave light to the process of becoming citizens.
Brent Rogers
Apr 08, 2015 Brent Rogers rated it it was ok
Shelves: transitional
Hannah's family wants to make America their new home. Baba tells his daughter that in America, people are free to say what they think and children can grow up to be whatever they choose. Hannah is living in a new home and starting at a new school. hannah is also learning a new language.The family is waiting for their green cards to arrive throughout the book. I would use this book when discussing immigration.
This story is age appropriate for younger students. The plot of the story is very thick and realistic. Within the story there is a problem and resolution that is centered around new beginnings, change, and adjusting. The context of the story allows students to connect, generate questions, and consider a range of thoughts. It touches on the subject of migration which represents an element of that cultural group. The characters do this appropriately as well as the images.
Jan 09, 2017 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Great children's book written by an Asian-American author based off of her own immigrant experience. Important book for young children to learn about immigration and accepting those who may seem different.
Karelle Royal
This story tells about the experiences that an immigrant girl Na-Li faces when her family moves to the United States.
Great first day/first week of school book.
Good to use to teach about adapting to a new environment.
Teaches about the fears that student immigrants face when they have to move to new country.
Can be used to teach students about being brave and strong.
S/S: can be used with a lesson about cultures around the world.
Excellent book for ELL students.
Girl power.
Mar 21, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I sent this book to my niece for her birthday, and apparently, she wanted to read it every single night. and every night, my sister would say yes, sit down and read, and then begin to cry at the last page like clockwork.

It is that good, and I think sitting there and reading it with one's child makes it even better.

Jun 22, 2014 Jasmine rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Hannah is My Name is a story many children can relate to. It discusses names and fitting in. Hannah, whose name is Na-Li, learns that her family moved to America to be able to afford a better life for her. She adjusts to being in a new country, having a new 'American' name, and hopes to receive their permanent citizenship.
Apr 08, 2015 Kayla rated it liked it
Shelves: diversity
This book was an excellent immigration book. It talked about how a family moved to America. People informed them that if they did not have a green card they could not stay in the country. They waited and waited for the green card. Finally one day the green cards came and the families were relieved.
Mary Dye
This was an interesting book about why some immigrants change their names when they migrate to the United States. It was kind of sad to see them lose their name, but understandable to see them try and fit in with their new friends.
Marissa Pezzullo
Apr 13, 2015 Marissa Pezzullo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Hannah is my name was a sweet story about a little girl who was new to america. Her and her family went through struggles waiting for their green cards. This book can relate to children in the way that, if they are new or from a different country they may see this as a less threatening resource.
Hannah has immigrated from Taiwan to the us. Her parents are applying for green cards for the whole family. It is a scary time for them although their hopes are to build a new life in the us.
I read/listened to this book on tumblebooks. This book is about an immigrant from China coming to America.
Feb 07, 2012 AP rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
Beautiful illustrations. Sweet story about immigrant experience from a 7-8 yr old girl's eyes. If this is an early reader picture book, the text is too long.
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"My Chinese name is Xuan, or "Forget-All-Sorrow." It is also Chinese for "lily of a day," notes Belle Yang. "If life spans a mere day, why spend it in worry?" Indeed, the author-illustrator of HANNAH IS MY NAME recalls a seemingly worry-free childhood in Taiwan and Japan, where she "doodled and fiddled around with words and discovered they were her life."

Now an author and painter, Belle Yang has
More about Belle Yang...

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