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My Name Is Aviva
Illustrated by Ag Jatkowska
Kar-Ben Books, October 2015

Aviva’s classmates tease her by calling her “Amoeba” and “Viva La France,” so Aviva decides to change her name to Emily. Her parents go along with her request, but after Aviva (aka “Emily”) learns about her great-grandmother Ada for whom she was named, she reconsiders. Ada came to America from “the old country,” worked in a lace factory, taught herself to read by studying newspapers, and made the best chicken soup ever. My Name Is Aviva is sure to inspire young readers to explore where their own names come from and what they mean.

My Name Is Aviva

Why I wrote this book
I was named after my grandfather, Louis Levin, whom I never met. But I heard stories about what a wonderful man he was. Like Aviva, I have an unusual name. I decided to write a warm loving story about a girl who at first dislikes her name, and then becomes proud of it. Ada is based on my maternal grandmother, Ruth Levin, who, like Ada, worked in a lace factory as a girl, studied the newspapers to learn how to read, and really did make the best chicken soup ever! (I inherited her soup pot.) I hope that after reading My Name Is Aviva, young readers will become curious about the origins of their own names.

The story of my name

Grandma Ruthie

Lesléa Newman’s Grandma Ruthie (age 98), the inspiration for Aviva’s great-grandmother Ada.


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