Tag Archives: Anastasia Kanavaliuk

Featuring: Anastasia Kanavaliuk

Helloooooo lovely humans!  Here is our third and final installment of our trio of posts surrounding the fantastic creative team behind Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question!  We were able to catch up with Anastasia Kanavaliuk, the talented illustrator behind Aviva’s Book.  If you haven’t seen our interview with Aviva, you can find that here, and if you haven’t yet read our review of Ezra you can catch that one here!  We hope everyone is enjoying the day, and aren’t getting into too many shenanigans (but we should always be getting into a few 😉 ).

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The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!

Anastasia Kanavaliuk: My name is Anastasia. I am a freelance illustrator. I mainly work on illustrations for children’s books. Sometimes I create personal illustrations of families and couples that people order for their loved ones.

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TTA: What are you passionate about?

AK: My biggest hobby is illustration (of course). I draw not only for work, but also for myself. I also really like books, especially paper ones. Reading a paper book is a very pleasant pastime for me.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

AK: I am currently working on a package of illustrations for sale. I plan to create illustration packages on various topics. This will be useful for designers and just people who want to get original posters for their apartment or arrange wedding invitations, for example. There are a lot of opportunities.Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 4.52.19 PM

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

AK: Every creator, whether an author, illustrator or musician, wants his work to be seen. I share my illustrations on my Instagram page, and I am very pleased to receive feedback on what I am doing, various questions and tips. This is the best support.

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TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

AK: My favorite book that I worked on in 2019 is Aviva Brown’s book, Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question. Together we put a lot of time and effort into it. And the result is amazing. And if we are talking about a booScreen Shot 2019-08-30 at 5.05.14 PMk I read, then it is Five Feet Apart. I’m just in love.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

AK: I can have a lot of plans, but everything changes so quickly that it makes no sense. I meet new interesting people, get cool projects and everything is going better than I expected. I just want to keep doing my job and getting better.


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Stay Connected with Anastasia!

You can find her on instagram: @ealince

and at her online portfolio!

Ezra’s BIG Shabbat Question

Written by: Aviva L. Brown

Illustrated by: Anastasia Kanavaliuk

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English & Hebrew (glossary included)

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Judaism, Family, Love, Education, Culture & Traditions, Global Community, Jewish Culture & Identity. 

Summary: This book is so great!  The world of children’s literature desperately needs more diversity, and this book fills several gaps.  Having more main characters of color, especially a family that is Jewish is much needed.  Ezra’s family is interracial, and celebrate Shabbat weekly.

Ezra is a bright, curious character.  He loves being Jewish, and asking questions.  One of his favorite days is Shabbat, because no one does any work.  This gets Ezra thinking, what is considered work?  Can knots be tied?  Can Ezra even tie his shoes on Shabbat??  Wandering around the house, Ezra asks each of his siblings his BIG question but none of them can enlighten him.  Ezra’s mother says she will look it up, and then his dad arrives home just in time for Shabbat.  His BIG question will have to wait!  The reader is introduced to a few vocabulary words and concepts related to Shabbat, as well as the blessing that Ezra’s mom sings.  The next morning, shoes still untied, Ezra is able to track down Rabbi Andy to ask his BIG question.  Rabbi Andy explains that people follow Judaism all over the world, and everyone interprets the rules a little differently.  This makes sense to Ezra, but he’s still unsure on if HIS family is allowed to tie knots, even temporary ones, on Shabbat.  As Ezra goes into the sanctuary for the start of services, he bumps into his dad who tells Ezra to tie his shoes.

This book does a great job of explaining the nuances of the religion, and presenting a simple question that adults may not consider but is very important to young people.  Another small side plot of this story we found particularly funny is that in the beginning Ezra wonders if the cat thinks in English, but in several places throughout the story we see thought bubbles above their two cats and they’re in fact NOT thinking in English!  This book does a fantastic job introducing a young audience to Judaism without knocking the reader over the head.  The story is believable, the illustrations are adorable, and the reader is left wanting to know what other BIG questions Ezra has.  We can’t wait to see what this author publishes next!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

web+bio+picAviva Brown and her children converted to Judaism in 2017, but during the preceeding years of Jewish study, she noticed a lack of diversity among Jewish children’s literature.  In late 2018, Aviva read a quote by author Beverly Cleary: If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.  So, she did.

In 2019, Aviva founded SpringLight Publishing to publish her books, with the goal of eventually publishing diverse picture books by other independent authors.

Aviva currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, two cats, and four wild animals who sometimes pretend they’re well-mannered children.  When she’s not writing, editing, or reading diverse kidlit, she can be found hiding from housework (well, you can try, but she’s super good at hiding), eating popcorn, or singing show tunes.

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 11.03.42 AMAnastasia Kanavaliuk is hard to find on the internet!  Her Instagram handle is here, and we think she’s so incredibly talented!