Young Readers League “What’s in a Name” Writing Contest

Category 2 (Age 12-14)

1st place

What My Name Means to Me

by Maren Arther
12 years old (Grade 7)
Polytechnic School

My name was the first word whispered about me. My name paints pictures of memories in the minds of many. My name strikes hate in some, love in others. My name makes one girl’s face burn bright red whenever it is called in class. It is a name marred by embarrassment and failures. My name falls into place beside my friends’ names. I hear my name called even when it is not. My name is never spelled right on a Starbucks cup, and is always mispronounced on the first day of school. My name marks me a daughter of the sea. But even if it never paints a positive portrait, or is so unique it is never correct, it is my name. And my name is me. It is the color green. It is alpacas. It is alternative music. It is video games and Chinese food and everything I love that makes me unique. My name goes up the roots of the family tree. My name ties me to the sea. My name makes me, me.

My name is Maren.


Everyone’s name is special. In the spirit of this year’s Young Reader’s League selection, Rump by Liesl Shurtliff, we are holding a writing contest focusing on the meaning of names. In 300 words or less, tell us something about your name. This could be how you got your name, what it means to you, or what it means in general. Anything about your name is fine. Winners will receive a gift card to Vroman’s Bookstore and have their entry featured on the library’s blogs. Additionally, Category 2 (age 12-14) winners will have their stories printed in the next issue of the Teen Zine.

Special thanks to our judges:  Allison Hill (Vromans), Catherine Hany (Pasadena Library), Dan Mclaughlin (Pasadena Library), Judy Melton (Friends of the Library), Nick Smith (Pasadena Library), Roy Park (Pasadena Library), Tiffany Duenas (Pasadena Library)