Aviva doesn’t like her name because the other children are unfamiliar with it and make fun of it. She doesn’t enjoy the teasing when they call her names like “Amoeba” or “Vive la France.” She wishes she had a more typical name, a name like Emily. In fact, she asks her parents to call her Emily from now on. “Why did you name me Aviva, anyway?” she asks them in frustration.
Her mother begins to tell her all about her great-grandmother, Grandma Ada, whose Hebrew name was Aviva. Grandma Ada, Aviva learns, had many special qualities, and left warm and beautiful memories in the hearts of those who loved her. Hearing stories about this special great-grandmother and gaining an understanding of the meaning of her name teach Aviva to value her real name. From that day on, she no longer wishes to be Emily; she carries the name Aviva with pride.
This is a sweet story that may motivate children to ask about the derivation of their own names.
Ag Jatkowska’s art is beautifully appealing —simultaneously delicate and bright, evoking aviv, springtime.
Recommended for ages 3 – 8.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.