Do you know how to pronounce that favorite author’s name? If not, you are not alone! There is a great website, Teachingbooks.net where you can listen to an author pronounce his or her own name, so you know it’s correct! I always thought I knew how to pronounce Jodi Picoult, but I discovered I’d been pronouncing it incorrectly for years! It is pronounced “PEE- koh” like the tea. Rick Riordan tells us his name is pronounced RYE –r- don (first syllable pronounced like rye bread).
One of my favorite authors, Chris Bohjalian, of Armenian descent, actually pronounces his name differently than most of his family who have, in his words, “Americanized” the pronunciation over the years. He says Bok-JAIL- yen, but most people say Bow JAIL yen (first syllable pronounced like to tie a bow). Take a listen to such popular authors as John Scieszka or Brian Jacques. They just might surprise you!
The authors also sometimes go into a little history or give you some fun facts about themselves. For instance, Christopher Paolini explains that his name is Italian and means “little Paul”. Avi only goes by that one name, given to him by his twin sister when they were about a year old. R.L. Stine’s family has never called him R.L., they call him Bob. Maya Angelou has a similar story about her name and her older brother’s influence. Sometimes, when he was smaller, people used to tell Neil Gaiman not to make things up. He never listened.
Teachingbooks.net has a nice 3 minute overview video to help familiarize readers with the vast services it offers. If you don’t find your favorite author on Teachingbooks.net, try searching for the author’s official website to learn more. Either way, you’re sure to discover something surprising about the authors you love!