My Name Is Aviva

Lesléa New­man Ag Jatkows­ka, illus.
  • Review
By – December 3, 2015

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.

Discussion Questions