Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Do I Pronounce Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

Jon Scieszka? Laurie Halse Anderson? Louis Sachar? How DO you pronounce their names, anyway?

For that matter, how about Rick Riordan? Is it Ree-OR-dan (as I've been saying it for years)? Or Rear-den? Or something else entirely?

I've heard respected booksellers say HAL-zee for Laurie's middle name. I've been saying Chess-ka for Jon and Satch-er for Louis. But how do you know if you're right or wrong?

While blog-hopping earlier this month, I discovered this post over at Peter Sieruta's wonderful blog, Collecting Children's Books.

First, I was thrilled to realize that I'm not the only one who mispronounces words (I grew up saying in-dicked instead of indict, DEN-ee instead of deny, etc.).

Second, in the comments on that post, Andrea (thank you, Andrea, from the bottom of my heart) posted this useful and fun website for learning how to pronounce authors' names. Go check it out.

I'll wait.

Hmm, hmm, hmm...

Back? Okay. NOW you've not only had the fun of hearing the authors' actual voices, you know how to pronounce Scieszka. It's SHESS-ka. Rhymes with Fresca. Louis Sachar. Sack-er. Rhymes with cracker. Laurie HALSE Anderson. Halse rhymes with waltz.

The logical conclusion to this: If you want to be a successful author of children's books, your name has to RHYME with something!

But then again, Rick RYE-or-den doesn't rhyme with anything, so maybe not...


  1. I was three for three- all three pronunciations wrong! Oh, well. Good post.

  2. Ok, I knew Sachar and Halse Anderson... but not the rest! This always confuses me! Another one I didn't know -- when Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants first came out and was relatively unknown, I couldn't find it in a bookstore. I asked an employee about it and didn't know if her last name was pronounces BRA-shares or BRASH-ers. Though I was still an awkward teenager, so I probably just didn't want to say "bra."

  3. Very clever post! I will be checking out that pronunciation site. Sounds "fun-ducational."

  4. This is hilarious AND useful.

    I always worry about my last name (Bahm) because telemarketers always pronounce it "Bam." I guess I should start saying, "It rhymes with Tom." :)

  5. There you go, Natalie -- you're one of those lucky authors whose name rhymes with something. Great! Now I know for when your book is published.

    Thanks,also, to Linda, Donna and Kim for the comments. Donna, I never knew how to pronounce Brashares either. Apparently it's Bre-SHARES. And her recording has to be the shortest one on record.

    It's really a fun site. Anyone who hasn't checked it out, go try it.


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