Happy Saturday! We are SO EXCITED to be able to feature this powerhouse, Aviva Brown! Aviva is one of the first people we “met” on Instagram when we started our account, and we’ve been keeping in regular contact ever since. Aviva is knowledgable, funny, and definitely not afraid to laugh at herself as she shares funny life situations on her entertaining Instagram stories. We are thrilled that she was able to publish her first book at the end of July, and see a shining bright future for her! We hope you enjoy reading this interview, but make sure that after you’re done you go outside and enjoy some of this end of summer warm weather.
This is actually the first of 3 posts around Aviva and her new book! Our next book review post on Tuesday is Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question, and for our next Sound Off Saturday post, we were able to interview Aviva’s talented illustrator Anastasia! Whew, we have to go lie in a hammock for a bit, it’s getting too exciting around here 😉 Tiny Activists, out!
The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!
Aviva Brown: Hey, peeps! I’m Aviva Brown and I self-publish children’s picture books about Jewish kids of Color. I’ve been married to my incredible spouse for 12 years and we have four amazing children that get on our nerves, cover us in kisses, and make our lives…unpredictable. My oldest child is 11 and my youngest turns 1 in September. My children and I converted to Judaism in 2017, and my husband just finished his conversion in August 2019.
TTA: What are you passionate about?
AB: I’m passionate about so many things that I burned out on activism because I tried to do every. single. thing. These days I’ve limited my focus to two areas–finding, reading, reviewing, and creating books about diverse populations, and working on immigration issues.
I’m currently the chair of my synagogue’s Immigration Sub-Committee. We’ve held an ID drive for undocumented immigrants, which many businesses and the police department in our small city will recognize as legitimate identification. We partnered with a mostly Latinx Christian congregation for a program called Stranger 2 Neighbor, where we met several times in Fall 2018 to exchange information about our different cultures. It went so well, we’ve kept in touch and are planning a community service project this fall.
We also maintain an Immigration Relief Fund, which congregants donate to, and partner with a local organization, Faith Action International House, to provide monetary relief to families who have had family members detained by ICE. We’re also currently planning a trip this winter to Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA.
TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!
AB: My first picture book, Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question, was just released July 30th, so I’m currently working on getting it on peoples’ radar and selling it. I’ve also started work on my second book, Ora: Summer Camp Stowaway, already. My goal is to release it in spring 2020. I’m really excited to bring stories about Jews of Color to the children’s market. Kids need to see themselves in books so that they know they matter. That’s my mission.
TTA: How can people support you on your journey?
AB: The easiest way to support my journey would be to purchase copies of my book. Ha! However, I know that’s not possible for everyone. If you know someone who might be interested, though, tell them. Follow my social media accounts and help me build an audience of like-minded parents, grandparents, and educators who understand how important diversity is in kids books.
TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?
AB: My favorite children’s book this year is Lubna and Pebble. It’s about a little girl who lives in a refugee tent city where her pebble is her only friend. She eventually makes a human friend, and when it is time for her family to leave, she leaves Pebble with him. Such a sweet story.
TTA: What are you looking forward to in The coming year?
AB: If I can pull it off, I hope to release two books in 2020, and mentor other self-publishing authors. There were so many things I had to spend hours researching or learn on the fly. If I can save another writer that research time, hopefully more people will add their voices and stories to the kidlit world. We need them!
Keep Connected with Aviva!