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My Name is Aviva Library Binding – Picture Book, Aug. 1 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 ratings

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"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


"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


About the Author

Lesléa Newman has created 80 books for readers of all ages. Her awards include two National Jewish Book Awards, the Massachusetts Book Award, and the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award. She lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

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.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kar-Ben; Illustrated edition (Aug. 1 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Library Binding ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1467726540
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1467726542
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 445 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 24.18 x 0.25 x 28.5 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 5 ratings

About the author

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Lesléa Newman is the author of 75 books for readers of all ages including the teen novel in verse, OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD; the middle grade novel, HACHIKO WAITS; the poetry collection, I CARRY MY MOTHER; the short story collection, A LETTER TO HARVEY MILK; and the children's books, A SWEET PASSOVER, THE BOY WHO CRIED FABULOUS, KETZEL, THE CAT WHO COMPOSED, and HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES. Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD was named an American Library Association 2013 Stonewall Honor Book, and A SWEET PASSOVER was named a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor as well. A past poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, she is a faculty member of Spalding University's brief-residency MFA in Writing program. Her newest poetry collection, I CARRY MY MOTHER is a book-length cycle of poems that explores a daughter's journey through her mother's illness and death. From diagnosis through yahrtzeit (one-year anniversary), the narrator grapples with what it means to lose a mother. The poems, written in a variety of forms (sonnet, pantoum, villanelle, sestina, terza rima, haiku, and others) are finely crafted, completely accessible, and full of startling, poignant, and powerful imagery. These poems will resonant with all who have lost a parent, relative, spouse, friend, or anyone whom they dearly love.

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Top review from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on October 15, 2020
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Aweful packaging.
By AmShopper on October 14, 2020
Not sure how one would think packaging a book like this is OK. Disappointed.
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Top reviews from other countries

Angela A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2017
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