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In the Tales by Moons-Light™ book series, the main characters visit a distant planet called Urth.

If you’ve read Mateo and the Gift of Presence, you know that Urth is inhabited by human-like creatures who look a bit different from us and have unique traditions. For example, Urth children don’t celebrate their birthdays. Instead, they celebrate their renaming days.

What’s a renaming day?

A renaming day is the day an Urth child renames himself.  Sounds logical, right? But what the heck’s a rename?

Renames

Urth children, like Earth children, are given names when they’re born. No surprise there. But unlike us, they don’t keep their birth names for very long. Instead, when they’re old enough, they select a different name, a rename.

Have you ever thought about renaming yourself? Most people have, at one time or another. Maybe your name is Sally and you’d rather be called Robin. Or your name is Robin and you’d rather be called Sally. Still, most of us are willing to hang onto our birth names for life. We identify with them early on, and it’s confusing for everyone (including ourselves!) if we decide to change them.

But the situation on Urth is very different. There, all children rename themselves. Moreover, a child’s renaming day is an exciting event.

Why?

Well, for one thing, a Renaming Ceremony is a huge party! Children rename themselves in groups, so lots of people attend. There are presents and games and heaps of yummy food. If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, you’ll have an idea what a Renaming Ceremony is like. Everyone has a great time and the celebration lasts all day.

But even more important… After their Renaming Ceremonies, children are given more control over their lives. A renamed child can choose to stay up past midnight, eat a six scoop ice cream cone for dinner, or even skip school on the day of an algebra test, and there’s nothing his (or her) parents can do about it!

Mateo has renamed himself. Have you? ice

How old are Urth children when they rename themselves?

The average age for renaming is 16-20 in Urth Years (UY), which is 8-10 in Earth years (EY), because Urth orbits its sun twice as fast as Earth does.

Renaming Rules

Renaming is a lot of fun, but it can’t be done willy-nilly. A child must follow the Renaming Rules that were set down centuries ago by Urth people who have long-since vanished into the mists of time.

Here they are.

Renaming Rule 1:

A child’s rename must include all the letters of his/her original name, and no others.

Ernie can rename himself: Renie, Neeri, Rinee, Irnee, Irene, etc. But he can’t rename himself Bart, John, Steve, or Leonardo.

Sandra can choose Sandar, Dranas, Radsan, Drasan, or Anrads and so on. But she can’t rename herself Patsy, Maria, Hsaio Yee, or Stephanie.

Renaming Rule 2:

A child can split his/her rename into more than one word.

Angelica can rename herself “A Nice Gal.” (Great choice, don’t you think?)

Christine can choose “Rice Thins” or “Thin Rices” or “In Thri Sec.”

Renaming Rule 3:

A child can choose his first, middle, or last name for the renaming process.

This rule was added relatively recently, to allow children with short first names more choices.

For example, if a girl named Ann Anastasia Grant were forced to use her first name, she’d have very few choices. (You can figure them out “in thri secs!”) So she might prefer to rename herself using her middle name as a starting point instead.

Likewise, a boy named Art Lee Fiddlemaker might decide to use his last name. But if he’d prefer to answer to the name Rat or Eel for the rest of his life, that’s up to him.

Do you have a rename yet?

Earth children who visit Urth (either in person or in their imaginations) are invited to rename themselves, too.

As you may know, Mateo Marino, the hero of Mateo and the Gift of Presence, renamed himself Meato.

As you’ll see when the book comes out in 2018, Elvia Hill, the heroine of Elvia and the Gift of Feeling Deeply, will choose to be Alive. (Who wouldn’t?)

How about you?

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FUN ACTIVITY

Rename yourself!

Here are two ways to do it.

Choose a rename the traditional Urth way, using wooden letters. (Scrabble pieces are great for this purpose.) Just select the appropriate letters and move them around with your fingers on a flat surface. Pretty easy to do if your birth name is Helen or Juan, right?

But if your name is Anastasia or Fiddlemaker, you might want a little help…

Use the Anagrammer Word Play website (embed link http://www.wordplays.com/anagrammer). It’s a cool tool, especially if your name is longer than five letters.

Just type your name into the “Enter a Word or Phrase” box. Then click GO. A list of possible renames will appear below. Just like that! Magic!

I suggest you invite a friend or sibling to join in. Have a Renaming Ceremony of your own! (If you’re really lucky, your parents will play along, and give you more control over your life when you’re done.)  Mateo has renamed himself. Have you? laptop

Once you’ve made your choice, use the comment section below to send me your birth name and your rename. I love to hear from my young readers! Once I compile a list of 20 more, I’ll post it!

(By the way, my birth name was Ruth. Can you guess my rename? Hint: It has something to do with my Tales by Moons-Light™ book series!)