Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review: ALMA and How She Got Her Name

ALMA and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal

I am always looking for books that empower children or that help kids feel better about themselves. So I absolutely fell in love with this new book out by Juana Martinez-Neal! The storyline is one to which I'm sure many children can relate.

This review contains affiliate links.

When I was growing up, I was always sad that my name was so simple: Monica Olivera. No middle name. No middle NAMES. Nada. I was envious of my Spanish cousins who had longer names. I felt that I had gotten cheated of picking who I wanted to be. Oh, eventually I grew up and found comfort and love in my given name. But I do remember those long ago days, especially when I'm doing research for packets that feature Hispanic men and women. (Did you know that Celia Cruz's real name was Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso?)

Enter ALMA and How She Got Her Name (aff). The story is about young Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela. Phew! That's a mouthful, no? Poor Alma feels like it is too long. Until her Daddy begins to tell her the story of her name and the remarkable people whom she is named after.

Does your child have several names? If so, have you ever taken the time to sit and tell them the story behind their name? Maybe you named them after a close friend or a beloved family member. Maybe you named them after a place that is special to you. Or perhaps you chose a name based on its meaning. Whatever the case, I feel like children want to know why their names are special to their parents.

This book is Martinez-Neal's debut picture book as an author-illustrator. And, yes, the illustrations are really, very good. The careful use of color makes the images pop! And I absolutely love, love, LOVE how culture permeates the pictures in this children's book and Spanish words can be found throughout. Here's a peek:

The best part of this book, in my opinion, is that it is available in both English and Spanish. What a treasure this would be for home libraries!

Teachers: This book works well with lessons and unit studies about Hispanic culture, families, Hispanic family traditions, meanings behind names, family stories, family history, father-daughter relationships, self-worth, and more.

Disclosure: I received a copy of these books for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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