TITLE: Shut Up, My Name Doesn't Stink!
GENRE: Middle Grade Novel
“Chi! Chi!” My little brother, Duc, screams in my ear. Big Sister! Big Sister! He raps his black chopsticks hard on the headboard of my bed. Tap, tap, tap. “Wake up! You’re late.”
I force my sleepy eyes open and jerk up from underneath the covers, my heart beating fast. Thump, thump, thump.
How can summer vacation be over already?
The nightmare that is my life will soon start—all the teasing, the mean tricks, and everyone laughing at my name, just because it’s different from theirs.
See, I’m Vietnamese. I was born in a village in the Khanh Hoa province of Vietnam, but I moved to this tiny town in Central Tennessee in third grade. I don’t even know if it’s on any maps—it’s that small. I call it the Middle of Nowhere (MON), Tennessee. Most of the people here are white, some are African-American, some Mexicans and Hispanics, but there are only like three Asian families within a one hundred mile radius.
And I am the only Asian kid at Mitchell Middle School, and the only one with a weird name. Everyone else has names that are easy to pronounce like Emily or John.
My name is My Dung Tran.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. My first name is My Dung—it’s a double name, like Lauren Kate or Mary Sue—and it has nothing to do with animal poop, so put that out of your mind right now!