Tour the World in 30 Books: What’s In A Name?

Hello, reader!

Today I’m bringing you a special post. It’s a blog tour, but it’s unlike any tour I’ve participated in before! Why? Because this tour is not only highlighting diverse books (and a different book each day, at that!) but it’s for a fantastic cause: getting diverse books into the hands of young library patrons. On top of that, I get to highlight my favorite book of 2020, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko!

But, before we get into my post, let’s talk more about the aforementioned cause.

About Tour the World in 30 Books

This is a blog tour hosted by Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den in support of her local public library’s Diverse Book Drive. The CCPL—a small, rural library in an area with a high poverty rate and a very homogeneous population, where people rarely have the means to travel or experience new perspectives. However, the library doesn’t believe that should stop people from learning more about the world around them, so they’re running a Diverse Book Drive through the month of September in an attempt to bring the rest of the world to the county instead. With a focus on MG and YA books, the CCPL aims to expose especially its young patrons to new and diverse perspectives and cultures.

How To Help

Would you like to help the CCPL build it’s diverse book library? There are a numbers of ways you can donate! To order something that will go directly to the library, please check out the library’s wishlists:

Note: If you order a wish list book from Bookshop, please send a message to so the book can be removed to avoid duplicate purchases, as I do not believe the site automatically removes the book from the list.

There are also other ways to donate:

Or you can mail gently used or other new book donations to:

Sammie Betler
Casey County Public Library
238 Middleburg St.
Liberty, KY 42539

Note: All book donations are used at the discretion of the library.

Note: Hardcovers are preferred, but definitely not required.

As much as I’ve raved about Raybearer, I found it surprisingly difficult to settle on a blog post idea to spotlight it for my stop on the tour. I wanted to do something different that people would still find interesting, ya know? Then, I was re-reading the book in August for a readalong hosted by the author herself, Jordan Ifueko. The topic of the meaning of the main character, Tarisai’s, name came up and I got curious. Were there other characters whose names had specific meanings, as well? And did those meanings perhaps shine a light on their personalities?

I decided to look into the names of five characters who play a large role in the story and was surprised at what I found! Now, I’m going to preface this by saying I did a very basic Google search, so these meanings are by no means 100% accurate. But I still had fun researching them and I hope you have fun reading my interpretations!

“I am Tarisai of Swana and I’ve seen your stories now. They belong to me, as mine belong to you. You don’t have to help me change the world. But you mark my words; when I get going, this world will change. And you can be a part of that… or you can stand back and watch.”

Tarisai, our main character, goes through a lot in this book. The main thrust of the plot is that her mother, a mysterious woman known only as The Lady, has sent her to the capital of Aritsar to compete for a place on the crown prince’s Council… and then to kill him. And the only way to get on said Council is to love the prince. You can understand the conflict of interest! But Tarisai refuses to be anyone’s puppet.

The meaning of Tarisai’s name is supplied to us in the book. Her father picks it specifically because it means “Behold what is coming”. And Tarisai certainly lives up to her name! Her strength of will is incredible to witness and people would be wise not to dismiss her. Behold what is coming because Tarisai is determined to forge her own path!

“I will swallow bitterness so that the lives of my people may be sweet.”

Ekundayo (or Dayo to his friends) is the crown prince of Aritsar and a literal cinnamon roll. He is the type of person that always sees the best in everyone and wants everyone to be happy. Even at a young age, you can see how he wants the best for all the people of Aritsar, though he sometimes has a hard time seeing how to achieve that. I absolutel loved Dayo! His softness, he’s heart… Dayo needs to be protected at all costs!

As for the meaning of his name, I think it fits his character well. He is the type of person that would do anything to turn someone’s sorrow into joy. And he is definitely the type of leader that is willing to suffer so that his people may be happy.

“When I was in the Blessid Valley, I longed for a bigger world. I wanted to travel the empire, learn all there was to know. But the more I learn about Songland, the more sufforcating Aritsar feels. I don’t know what I want. I only know the world is big, and I’m sick of pretending it’s smaller.”

Oh, Kirah. Kirah is one of Tarisai’s first friends and a literal ray of sunshine! She can mend people with her songs and she is the glue that holds Tarisai together at times. She’s also fierce and inquistive, a person who refuses to let herself be limited. I loved Kirah and her loyalty to her friends. And I loved that she is so open-minded and sweet. She’s just an all-around good person!

Speaking of which, there were several meanings for the name “Kirah” I ran across, but the two that stood out the most were “a wonderful person” and “light”. Kirah is the definition of a wonderful person and, I think, the light that helps guide her friends through turmoil. Honestly, everyone could use a best friend like Kirah!

“I see weakness. Bones, muscles, ruptures. They sing to me, tell me all their secrets. That’s why Father put me in death matches. With my Hallow, I never lost a fight.”

If you’re a fan of the strong, silent type, you’re going to love Sanjeet. Sanjeet and Tarisai meet at the Children’s Palace, where all the children who are competing for a place on Dayo’s Council live. Everyone is afraid of him and, more specifically, his Hallow, an inante and magical ability that some children have from birth. He can sense weaknesses which help him to take advantage of an opponents. But if Sanjeet isn’t the biggest teddy bear in the world, I don’t know who is! He would rather heal people than hurt them.

Still, when I looked up the meaning of his name, it certainly fit perfectly with his Hallow. Sanjeet is, essentially, invincible in a fight. But, aside from the literal interpretation, I also like to think that Sanjeet’s heart, his soft core, is pretty invincible, as well. With everything he has suffered in his life before arriving at the Children’s Palace, he still wants to help people. And he is especially fervent about helping the people he loves.

“I will not die until this body crumbles with old age. That is the power of the Ray, child. That power filled my father before me, and fills my son now. Only a Raybearer’s Council of Eleven may kill him. Such is the divine protection of heaven. And none shall thwart it.”

Olugbade is Dayo’s father, the emperor of Aritsar. He rules all the twelve kingdoms that were united by his ancestors and he will definitely make sure you know it. Olugbade is much different from his son. Where Ekundayo wishes to please people, the emperor feels people should bend and twist to try and please him. He’s… not my favorite, but an interesting character, to say the least.

Now, though Olugbade is my least favorite on this entire list, I had the most fun learning about his name. There was nothing on the internet that gave a meaning for “Olugbade” that I readily found. I did, however, find out that “Olu” can mean God or a deity and that “Gbade” can mean “carry the crown”. As the emperor of Aritsar is viewed as a god among men, this seemed like the perfect fit!

There we have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed my amateur look into the possible meaning of the names of some key players in Raybearer. Or perhaps you can tell me of some meanings I overlooked. I find this topic fascinating and am always eager to learn!

If you feel like donating this or any book to the CCPL, please make sure to check out the links above. And, before you go, check out the schedule for all the blogs on this tour! There are/will be some wonderful posts that you won’t want to miss!

Tour Schedule

September 1: Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den – Introduction, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears || Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn ReadsDating Makes Perfect

September 2: Lauren @ Always MeThe Epic Crush of Genie Lo

September 3: Toya @ The Reading ChemistFelix Ever After

September 4: Michelle @ Carry A Big BookSharks in the Time of Saviors

September 5: Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICAThe Astonishing Color of After

September 6: Maria @ A Daughter of Parchment and PaperPatron Saints of Nothing

September 7: Bri @ Bri’s Book Nook – True Friends (Carmen Browne)

September 8: Bec @ bec&booksLobizona || Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story – diverse TTT

September 9: Sienna @ Daydreaming Book LoverLoveless

September 10: Kerri @ Kerri McBookNerdRaybearer

September 11: Noly @ The Artsy ReaderThe Name Jar

September 12: Jacob @ The Writer’s AlleyForest of Souls

September 13: Keri @ Are You My BookThe Tea Dragon Society

September 14: Shannon @ It Starts at MidnightThe Space Between Worlds

September 15: Melissa @ Ramblings of a Jedi LibrarianGirl in Translation

September 16: Livy @ Shelves of StarlightClap When You Land

September 17: Crystal @ Lost in StorylandAmerican Born Chinese

September 18: Lili @ Lili’s Blissful PagesA Wish in the Dark

September 19: Leslie @ Books Are The New BlackThe Poppy War

September 20: Noura @ The Perks of Being NouraLove From A to Z

September 21: Crini @ Crini’sA Pale Light in the Black

September 22: Rachelle @ Rae’s Reads and ReviewsDear Haiti, Love Alaine

September 23: Dini @ DiniPandaReadsWicked As You Wish

September 24: Madeline @ Mad’s BooksSpin the Dawn

September 25: Tessa @ NarratessBrace Yourself

September 26: Kimberly @ My Bookish BlissTruly Madly Royally

September 27: Rena @ Bookflirting 101Anna K: A Love Story

September 28: Susan @ Novel LivesBurn the Dark

September 29: Arina @ The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the GalaxyA Song of Wraiths and Ruin

September 30: Maya @