Carmela A. Martino

Author. Speaker. Teacher.

Selected Works

Middle-Grade Novel
Rosa didn't know which she hated more--being lonely or being different. One thing she did know--she wanted a baby brother . . . one just like Antonio.

To read an excerpt from the novel,
click here.

For a list of discussion questions, click here.

The new edition of Rosa, Sola is now available, and includes a new "Discussion Questions" section for classroom use. The paperback can be ordered directly here, and from most online booksellers. The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the Nook version is at!
Two Articles in the book below
Carmela's two articles appears in the 2016 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest Books).
Short Story in Anthology
Short story in I Fooled You: Ten Stories of Tricks, Jokes, and Switcheroos, a middle-grade anthology edited by Johanna Hurwitz. See the teacher's guide here.
Poem in And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer, a collection of 50 sports poems by writers from 10 countries.
Poem in Anthology
In Chicken Soup for the Soup: Teens Talk High School edited by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark, & Madeline Clapps
For Recommended Reading for Children and Teens click below:

Carmela's Blog

Please note: This is only an occasional blog. Please see my regular posts at

Character Names

March 9, 2010

Tags: Character Names, Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market

Tomorrow evening, I'll be speaking at the North Suburban Network Meeting of SCBWI-Illinois on the topic of character names. Rather than print out a handout, I'd like to offer some links related to the topic here in this blog post. In 2008, I wrote a four-part series on this topic for my craft column in the SCBWI-Illinois newsletter, the Prairie Wind. You can still read some of those columns, but you have to go to the SCBWI-Illinois page at to get to them now. Start on this page. Then scroll down to the "Spring 2008" link to open the pdf of the newsletter. Then scroll to page 11, where you'll find my "Writing Tips" column, labeled "What's In A Name? (Part Two)".
If you go back to the SCBWI-Illinois Prairie Wind page and click on the "Fall 2008" link, you can also read Part Four of the series. (I don't believe the other two parts are available online any longer. )

In case you have problems accessing the articles, I'll give you a few of my favorite links from the series here:

* The Writing-World website has a list of links to all sorts of online character naming sites here. The links include a wide range of sites, from basic baby-naming sites to archives of medieval names. A number of the sites have names used within specific ethnic groups, such as Chinese, Indian and Sikh.

* One of the sites Writing-World links to,, provides the history and etymology of first names from around the world. You can get to it if you click here. There’s a companion site for last name information,, which lists the meaning, ethnicity and popularity of surnames around the world. That link is here. The Behind the Name site also contains some interesting background information. For example, if you follow the “about Italian names” link at the top of the list of Italian first names, you’ll learn about a naming custom practiced in my family:

* Michelle Hoppe Prima talks a bit about the influence of sounds in character names in “Naming Your Characters,” which you can find here.

* Darcy Pattison also discusses how sound affects a reader’s impressions in her blog post about word (and name) choices on May 18, 2007, which you can find here. The post is actually a follow-up to her discussion of “word connotations” on May 11, 2007, which is here. As part of that discussion, Pattison says that a word acquires connotations “from the way it looks, sounds, derivations, culture, experiences, and more.”

* If you’re writing a story set in the United States, a great resource for both contemporary and historical names is the Social Security Administration website. There, you can see lists of the names most often given babies born in any year dating back to 1880. You can get to that site here.

Following are the reference books I plan to share tomorrow:

* The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Second edition includes tips for how to research names online and ten guidelines for naming characters. The name lists are organized by ethnic group and include information about corresponding surnames. The name meaning lists themselves are briefer than those in typical baby-naming book.

* Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature, by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen. Explores specific examples of how names are used by authors of novels for twelve- to eighteen-year-olds. Discusses not only character names but also “names for events, inventions, animals, attitudes, social developments, and imagined concepts.”

* The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why it Matters, by Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays. A biographer and a novelist discuss American naming practices and their implications. Includes a chapter on literary names.

* 2010 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, edited by Alice Pope, contains my article, "What's in a Name? Maybe More Than You Think."