My Name Is Aviva

Leslรฉa Newman (Author) Ag Jatkowska (Illustrator)


My name is Aviva, not Amoeba shouts Aviva at her teasing classmates. Aviva is determined to change her name until she discovers where her name comes from and why her parents chose that special name for her.

Product Details

Kar-Ben Publishing (R)
Publish Date
August 01, 2015
9.52 X 0.1 X 11.22 inches | 0.98 pounds
Library Binding

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About the Author

Leslรฉa Newman is the award-winning author of over seventy books for people of all ages. The recipient of Stonewall Honor Book Award and a past poet laureate, she is a faculty member of Spalding University's master's program in writing.

Ag Jatkowska was born in Gdansk, Poland. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk with an MA in Graphic Design and Illustration. She lives in Bath, England.


"Aviva is tired of being teased about her name. At school she is called 'Viva la France' or, even worse, 'amoeba.' So she takes matters into her own hands and decides to change her name to Emily. Her mother takes the change in stride, calling her daughter Emily as they make chicken soup together, read a book, and look at the stars. All the while, Aviva/Emily's mom tells stories of her own grandmother Ada, who taught her to cook, to sew, to read, and so much more. At bedtime, the little girl finally asks, 'why did you name me Aviva, anyway?' Her parents explain the Jewish tradition of naming a baby after beloved family or friends who are no longer living. Grandma Ada did not live to meet her great-granddaughter, but she lives on in the choice of the name 'Aviva, ' which was her Hebrew name. As she falls asleep, Aviva decides that she is indeed Aviva, proud of her name and her heritage. Many Jewish children are curious about the origin of their names, and wonder why they are unusual or old fashioned. Newman's clear and rich narrative explains the custom with warmth and appreciation for tradition. The illustrations, depicting both past and present, are a bit cartoonish for the quality of the text, but they help support the narrative. VERDICT A recommended purchase for all Judaic collections." -- School Library Journal


"It is a custom in certain Jewish families to name babies after beloved relatives who have passed away, but young Aviva doesn't realize this. She only knows that kids at school tease her about her name, calling her Amoeba and Viva La France. She announces she is switching to Emily, and Mommy and Daddy play along. Later, when Aviva asks how she was named, she learns she is named for Great-Grandma Ada, whose Hebrew name was Aviva. It was Ada who taught Mommy to make chicken soup, sew, and read, and suddenly the name seems perfect. Newman's gentle, empathetic story warmly addresses the difficulties faced by kids saddled with unusual names. Jatkowska's cartoon-style artwork details the story's action, but her characters sometimes appear stiff and stilted. Although not overtly religious, this will be most welcomed by Judaic collections. Pair with A. S. Gadot's The First Gift (2006) or Jamie Korngold's Mazel Tov! It's a Boy/Mazel Tov! It's a Girl (2015), both of which deal with Jewish names and naming ceremonies." -- Booklist Online