my own true name


Note: This post is part of a series on School Library Media/Materials for a course

Mora, P. (2000). My own true name. Houston: Pinata.

Sixty-plus poems for young adults covering the experiences of Pat Mora, a bilingual Mexican-American woman from El Paso, Texas. The poems are appropriate yet challenging for teens and young adults and cover themes of self-acceptance, values, identity, and character. The author uses the cactus plant to group the poems into sections: “Thorns,” Blooms,” and “Roots.” The poems are interlaced with Spanish words and phrases and some poems are presented in English and Spanish together.

New Mexico is a “minority majority” state, meaning that there are more minority individuals living in the state than there are white persons. New Mexico’s Hispanic population is almost 48% Hispanic or Latino. As such, having a large catalog of media that highlights the Hispanic community is a must for New Mexico Libraries. My Own True Name is a wonderful collection of poems that express the issues facing being Hispanic in America and provides a nice contrast to the traditional (white) poetry studied in most classrooms.

English/Language Arts Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.

Links to supporting content:

Annenberg-My Own True Name

Annennberg_My Own True Name-Lesson plan

Subjects/themes: Character and values, poetry, Mexican-American poetry, identity

Awards: The New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age List, 2001, Tayshas High School Reading List, Texas Library Association, 2001,  Finalist, Writers’ League of Texas, 2001