Reviewed by Juana Martinez-Neal
Born in Lima, Perú, Juana Martinez-Neal incorporates her Latinx culture into her debut author/ illustrator book, Alma and How She Got Her Name, published in both Spanish and English! This is a pleasant read because it is fresh and lighthearted but still packed with important messages. It focuses on a young girl and her curiosity over her very long name.
The main character Alma is concerned about her name, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, “not fitting” on a piece of paper. She approaches her dad about her concern, and in response he ensures her that her name does fit. He goes on to explain each part of her name and their connections to her family members and history. After each name is explained, Alma identifies with a part of it. In the end, she questions her own first name, “Alma”. Her dad explains to her that “Alma” is her own and belongs to only her. Continue reading.
Also reviewed by De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children: In Alma’s search for her identity, Martinez-Neal tells a gentle story of family culture and history and fills it with illustrative detail that will encourage the youngest readers to embark on their own journeys of self- and family discovery. Continue reading.
Alma y Cómo Obtuvo Su Nombre / Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Candlewick Press on 2018-04
Reading Level: Grade K, Grades 1-2
Review Source: Reading Is Resistance PDX
Buy at Powell's Books
What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from -- and who she may one day be. Spanish language edition!
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jos� Pura Candela has way too many names: six! Just think of how hard it is to fit them all on the back of a little photo. How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jos�, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all -- and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin or name story.