Amy Nielander's New Book, Author Interview and Giveaway

Thursday, October 13, 2022


My Name Is Not Ed Tug

Written and Illustrated by Amy Nielander

Ages 5-8 | 32 Pages

Publisher: West Margin Press | ISBN-13: 9781513134871

Publisher’s Book Summary: A sweet, whimsical story about the meaningfulness behind a person's name and the power of accepting people just as they are. Edimorwhitimormiligimmus Tug has a very special name that is all his own. But his teacher thinks it’s too long and hard to say. One day she shortens it to...Ed. But he loves his name just the way it is. So, he comes up with a plan—if he can teach everyone his name, maybe they’ll love it too! Sweet and whimsical, My Name Is Not Ed Tug empowers readers to own their identities and proudly celebrate who they are.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write My Name Is Not Ed Tug?

Amy Nielander - I used to volunteer in my daughter’s computer classroom years ago. On my first day, I watched a student react to his name misspelled on a monitor. That sparked the initial idea. Seeing how upset he was over the error as well as how quickly his engagement dropped, really stuck with me. That day, I left the classroom wanting to create a main character...for him. This main character would share the same feelings he experienced and have a name that was routinely misspelled too. The challenge for me was figuring out how my character would conquer the same problem.

Life Is What It's Called - How has your background helped prepare you to write this book?

Amy Nielander - My dad and grandfather are both immigrants, so I definitely tapped into observations I made as a child. My grandpa used a translated American name, because his birth name was too hard to pronounce outside of the Romanian community. My dad also used a translated American name from time to time, to help others remember his first name. Outside of that, my maiden name was misspelled all the time growing up because it didn’t make “American” sense phonetically.

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think kids will relate to the message in this story?

Amy Nielander - I think kids will relate to the book’s message because students are always meeting new classmates (including new teachers too!). Stories like My Name Is Not Ed Tug, will help them gain empathy and insight. They’ll read (and see!) how mispronouncing a name affects that person. My hope is that students will celebrate and appreciate diverse names in their classrooms no matter how long they are! And if they’re not sure how to learn a new name (or how to teach someone their name), My Name Is Not Ed Tug will hopefully inspire them.

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from the other children's books on the market?

Amy Nielander - This is such a great question! There are several published books on bookshelves that deal with self- identity, name misspellings and mispronunciations (dating back to 1973!). I’m learning about many of them now! I came up with My Name Is Not Ed Tug in 2013 so at that time, I was only familiar with TheName Jar by Yangsook Choi. It has been fun researching the range of books available for readers today. I appreciate all of the stories I’ve read so far! One way My Name Is Not Ed Tug is different is that it does not attach a specific culture to the main character. Some fantastic examples that identify different heritages are My Name is Bilal (Muslim), Alma and How She Got Her Name (Latinx), My Name Is Yoon(Korean), That’s Not My Name (Arabic) and Your Name Is a Song (African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, Middle Eastern). Another way My Name Is Not Ed Tug is different is that it exaggerates the outrageousness of the misunderstood name situation (one of my favorite author/illustrators is Roald Dahl). From an illustration standpoint, I really wanted to draw attention to how different each family member looks in My Name Is Not Ed Tug. I wanted kids to recognize that “family” does not necessarily mean shared physical characteristics. Family is a feeling too. When we see people loving and caring for each other, that looks like a “family” to me. At the end of the day, all of the books I’ve read, share one strong link: they empower children to stand up for themselves. That is impactful. I’m humbled My Name Is Not Ed Tug can join this group of powerful books and encourage kids to use their voice. How do you see My Name Is Not Ed Tug being used at homes, classrooms, and libraries? I see it as a great discussion tool for children meeting new classmates or attending a new school. The story may help ease anxiety if your child/student is worried about classmates learning their name. Educators, caregivers and parents can ask kids how they feel about teaching their name to others or learning a new student’s name. These conversations are opportunities to understand kids, strengthen relationships and show them that you care.

Life Is What It's Called - How is My Name Is Not Ed Tug similar and different from your other books?

Amy Nielander - One similarity is that I like to showcase the love family/friends have for each other. My picture books also feature petite main characters (even a ladybug!) with giant hearts and strong voices. What is different from my previous picture books, Grama’s Hug and The Ladybug Race, is readers get to meet more characters in the story.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want your readers to know about you as an author?

Amy Nielander - I love hearing from kids!

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Amy Nielander - I have a
fun, silly story brewing about a beaver and his family. After book events wrap up, I’ll fine-tune that dummy. I’d love to submit it to publishers in January 2023.

Amy Nielander is a designer and award-winning children’s book author and illustrator who loves to create playful stories for kids. Growing up, she had her name frequently misspelled by others. My Name Is Not Ed Tug is inspired by this experience and by her time volunteering in her children’s classrooms. Amy lives near Detroit, Michigan. 


Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of My Name Is Not Ed Tug, the Potato-Noodle-Feel-Better Soup recipe featured in the story, and a Name Journal!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A signed copy of My Name Is Not Ed Tug
  • A Potato-Noodle-Feel-Better Soup recipe (soup is featured in the story). The digital download includes an "Ingredient Checklist coloring page" for kids
  • A Name Journal: A 3.5" x 5" pocket-sized journal with 32 blank pages (100% recycled paper)
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A signed copy of My Name Is Not Ed Tug

My Name Is Not Ed Tug Book Giveaway

This post is in cooperation with The Children’s Book Review and Amy Nielander.

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