My Name is Hamburger
Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads
About My Name is Hamburger
Trudie Hamburger is the only Jewish kid living in the small southern town of Colburn in 1962. Nobody else at her school has a father who speaks with a German accent or a last name that means chopped meat. Trudie doesn’t want to be the girl who cries when Daniel Reynolds teases her. Or the girl who hides in the library to avoid singing Christian songs in music class.
She doesn’t want to be different. But over the course of a few pivotal months, as Trudie confronts her fears and embraces what she loves–including things that make her different from her classmates–she finally finds a way to say her name with pride.
I recently read another historical novel in verse by this same publisher (not on purpose, just the way things worked out). It looks like they primarily publish picture books with a few middle grade titles. Another novel I read earlier this year, THE PRINCE OF STEEL PIER, is also by Kar-Ben Publishing.
I really enjoyed MY NAME IS HAMBURGER. Some historical events are hinted at but kept really within what a ten year-old would ask or understand, which I also really liked. I absolutely adored Trudie. She’s driven and smart, but she has such a big heart, too. I especially loved her friendship with Jack and the way that she began to think differently about the way kids spoke to her and treated her because she saw it from the outside. It also gave her courage to stand up not only for herself but someone else, too.
I felt like this book had really deep characters. Like, Trudie’s parents were both super different, and had obvious strengths and weaknesses. Each character was really well-developed. I’m always blown away by that in a novel-in-verse because there are so few words on the page. It’s amazing to me when authors deliver such rich characters in a story with so few words. It’s so cool.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading MY NAME IS HAMBURGER. I loved the small town and all the relationships between people. I loved Trudie’s strength and courage and her love for others. This is a great book for fans of Jacqueline Woodson or Tricia Springstubb.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Trudie and her family are Jewish. Her dad came to America as a child to escape Nazi Germany. His family was not able to escape and did not survive. A new boy at school and his family are Korean Americans.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kids in Trudie’s class make racist comments about her and about a Korean American boy who joins her class. They comment on her facial features, belittle her intelligence, or say she’s only smart because she’s Jewish. She’s excluded from a school music class because she objects to Christian songs, and the principal felt it wasn’t fair for them to change the program for one student. There are no slurs spoken or written in the text.
Trudie looks forward to Shabbos with her family and especially the prayers with her dad. She attends a synagogue and enjoys services there.
Other kids make racist comments or bully Trudie for being Jewish. A boy kicks her ankle as she walks past and makes cruel comments. A man is injured in a fall.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of MY NAME IS HAMBURGER in exchange for my honest review.