My Name Is Aviva

illus. by Ag Jatkowska. 32p. Kar-Ben. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781467726542; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781467726566; ebk. $6.99. ISBN 9781467788397. LC 2014003664.
PreS-Gr 2—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, 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.

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