Anya's Secret Society

Anya's Secret Society

  • 1799

By Yevgenia Nayberg

Anya must keep her talent a secret.

Growing up in Russia, left-handed Anya's creativity and artistic spirit is suppressed because right-handedness is the right way - the only way. But Anya can't draw what's in her mind with her right hand. Anya loves to draw, so she uses her left hand in secret. She learns about great artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt who were also left-handed, and she imagines them drawing alongside her. When her family moves to America, Anya no longer needs to hide her left-handedness and her secret talent. 

Anya learns to embrace her unique gifts to express herself boldly in this heartwarming story of the artist's spirit in the face of adversity. Lefties will love this celebration of left-handed skills. Bold, expressive illustrations invoke Yevgenia Nayberg's own Ukrainian childhood. 

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Look Inside the Book:

Anya's Secret Society spread

Book trailer

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Yevgenia Nayberg, author and illustrator

Yevgenia Nayberg is a children's book illustrator and set and costume designer for stage and film. Her books include The Wren and the Sparrow and Drop by Drop: The Story of Rabbi Akiva (both Kar-Ben Publishing). Yevgenia lives in New York City. 

Awards & Honors:

Coming Soon!

Editorial Reviews: 

Kirkus Reviews

Lefties get short shrift in Russia, so Anya forms an imaginary secret society for lefty artists. As Nayberg explains in this book's postscript, a tradition of conformity in Russia has created a taboo against left-handedness. Right is right and correct, and left is not. So Anya, a lefty, is forced to learn to write and do everyday tasks with her right hand, reserving her left hand for her artwork, which she does when she is alone. Surrounded on the page with Nayberg's antique-looking, movement-filled illustrations, Anya learns that some extremely famous artists—Leonardo, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo—were left-handed. With their spirits, she forms a "secret lefty society" that meets at night to "talk, laugh, and draw. And they would draw with their left hand." Then Anya moves to the United States, where left-handedness is not frowned upon, and Anya's secret society no longer needs to be secret. The rather broad characterization of the United States as a nonconformist's paradise can be taken with a grain of autobiographical salt, for this is Nayberg's experience as a young girl. Otherwise, it is the story of coping with any society's rigid norms and finding avenues for self-expression, and Anya's imagination is a bright vehicle for just such a ride. Anya's secret society is so jovial and bighearted, you wish it upon all oppressed lefties.


Anya's Secret Society cover

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ISBN: 978-1-58089-830-0

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Ages: 4-8
Page count: 32
10 x 10

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