The Day My Niece Lost Her Name

imagejpeg_0A few months ago I read about a children’s book that was making headlines in the adult world for its innovation. The headline caught my attention–what could make a picture book newsworthy?

The book is called The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name (there is a boy’s version as well), and it’s made by a company called It’s a bespoke book, meaning that it’s made to order based on the name of the child to whom you’re giving it.

When you order the book, you enter the child’s name, and the book transforms based on the letters in that name. This isn’t just a matter of the words changing–the art in the book and the story itself evolves based on the name.

Throughout the book, a nameless child searches for the lost letters of his/her name, discovering them one by one through the story and illustrations. For example, for my niece’s book, A is the first letter, and the character encounters as aardvark to claim that letter.

This is the other cool thing: The software that creates the book is pretty smart, because it recognizes repeat letters–there are two of them in “Anna”–and makes sure not to use repeat encounters in the book.

At the end of the book, the child finds their name again. “Anna” is printed in big letters at the end of the book. The website has lots of photos of the moment that kids discover that their name–something they probably haven’t seen in a book before–adorns that final page.

I love everything about this. I love the customization, the cleverness, and most importantly, that magical moment at the end.

So I recently bought a book for my best friend’s son, Will, whose birthday was last week, and at checkout the site told me I could get 10% off another book if I added it to the order. There’s no special occasion for my niece in the near future–other than her being amazing and smart and adorable–but I added a copy for her as well. That’s her in the photo with my brother-in-law.

Pretty cool, eh?

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