The Inside Name by Randi Sonenshine
Illustrator: Gina Capaldi
Felipe has a secret. He and his family are conversos—Jews forced to convert to Christianity after 1497 but who maintained their Jewish identities and practices behind closed doors. Even his real name, his Jewish name, is a secret. Felipe is his outside name, the only one it is safe to use. The one his mother tries not to use. She whistles for him instead. But with the coming of the Inquisition from Spain to Portugal, it becomes more dangerous for them to continue to live a secret life. That is when a local priest, also a converso, finds a way for Felipe and his family to escape, to emigrate to a place where a young boy can be called by his real name.
Spotlighting the Sephardic Jewish converso culture in 1500’s Portugal, this illustrated historical fiction chapter book for ages 6-9 includes an end note explaining the lives of Portuguese conversos, how the Inquisition came from Spain to Portugal in 1536, making life even more dangerous for them, and the role of Gracia Nasi Mendes, a wealthy and influential converso who used her large sailing fleet and her international connections to help families flee.
Year first published: 2023