Alma and How She Got Her Name

Alma and How She Got Her Name

Book - 2018 | First edition.
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A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book

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.

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! 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; José, 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 stories or names.
Publisher: Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780763693558
Branch Call Number: JP Marti
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly colour illustrations ; 24 x 25 cm


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I think this book will become a classic and used in classrooms as part of community-building activities; I'll definitely be pairing this with other books about names at the beginning of the school year. I love the bits of Peruvian culture that Juana incorporated into the illustrations, including all the Spanish book titles on the shelves in Alma's home. I also appreciated the scrapbook quality. The calm, reflective tone and look of this book provides a balance to some of the silly, vibrant books that will be on the YHBA list.

This book is perfect for my school where our students' names are drawn from so many different cultures. It's also perfect for a school where the names are drawn primarily from one culture - so readers get a glimpse into other worlds and places.

Two wishes for this book: That Juana Martinez-Neal had included her hyphenated -Neal in her note about her own name AND that she'd incorporated the Spanish words for grandmother, aunt, etc. in the text.

PimaLib_AnnieW Mar 26, 2019

This is one of my very favorites from 2018. A beautiful celebration of a child's relationship with her father, her name, and her ancestors. Highly recommend.

IndyPL_KatieB Feb 05, 2019

Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has a very long name. In fact, it is too long if you ask her. Children and adults will enjoy hearing the story of how Alma got her name. The illustrations are simple but telling. I like how Spanish and English words are woven through the story in a seamless fashion. A lovely book that is well deserving of the Caldecott Honor Award in 2019.

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