The Polish word for family

March 12th, 2015

RodzinaQ: Choosing names. Is there a story behind the names you’ve chosen for your characters? (e.g., Brat becomes Beetle becomes Alyce)

A: There is no good answer to this question. Names just pop into my head, often before the story does. But there is a story behind Rodzina: When I was ten, my Grandma Lipski took me to the Polish cemetery in Chicago to show me her mother’s grave. In front of a gravestone marked Rodzina Czerwinski, she sat and cried. Many years later when I was writing a book about a Polish girl from Chicago, I decided to call her Rodzina after my great-grandmother. I checked with my father to make sure I had the spelling correct, and he told me that rodzina was not her first name but was the Polish word for family. The gravestone marked the resting place of the rodzins Czerwinski, or Czerwinski family. The book Rodzina is all about the search for family, so I decided that while Rodzina was not my great- grandmother’s name, it was the perfect name for the girl in my story. And so she is Rodzina.

Comments are closed.