Book Review: Alma and How She Got Her Name, Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma and How She Got Her Name
Author/Illustrator: Juana Martinez-Neal
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Ages: 4-8 years
Genre: Fiction, Picture book

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a particularly long name. Too long, according to her. So long, she complains to her dad, that it never fits. Her dad takes the opportunity to sit down with Alma and the family photo album. He tells Alma the origins of her name, and as she learns about each name, she learns more about herself.

As little readers flip through the pages of Alma and How She Got Her Name, they will be entranced by the stories of each of Alma’s ancestors, an engaging exploration of family history, culture, and the qualities that made each person exceptional. Delicate illustrations in graphite, colored pencil, and print transfer make beautiful use of subtle color and add to the feeling of history.

A charming note from the author at the end of the book provides a glimpse into her own name’s story. This simple, delightful book received abundantly-deserved starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist. Little readers adding Alma to their bookshelves will be inspired to discover and celebrate the origins of their names—and themselves.

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