Alma and How She Got Her Name
Alma and How She Got Her Name

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Annotation: When Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela asks her father why she has so many names, she hears the story of her name and learns about her grandparents.
Catalog Number: #178579
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-9355-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4076-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-9355-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4076-0
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018935034
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name, and she's about to find out how she came to have it.Alma is a cute little girl with the sweetest pair of striped red-and-white pants ever. She also happens to have a very long name—so long, in fact, that it never fits. Her father sits her down to tell her the story of her name, "Then you decide if it fits." And so Alma learns about her grandmother Sofia; her great-grandmother Esperanza; her grandfather José; her great-aunt Pura; and her other grandmother Candela. And Alma? She learns Alma was picked just for her. "You will make your own story." Peruvian-born Martinez-Neal never expresses it in the text, but the illustrations are filled with references to Peru, the country where Alma's family comes from. Mostly monochromatic against a cream background, the illustrations—print transfers with graphite and colored pencils—are delightful, capturing the distinctive essences of Alma's many namesakes. Alma is depicted as the color of the paper background, with pink cheeks and a black bob haircut. Whereas the story starts with Alma's name written in a childish print on a piece of paper that needs an extra piece of paper taped to it, the story ends with Alma's name in grand and elegant display types. That's her name, and it fits her just right! A Spanish edition, Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre, publishes simultaneously.A celebration of identity, family and belonging. (Picture book. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
Her full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, and it-s so long that -it never fits,- as the girl explains to her father. (When she writes it on a sheet of paper, she has to tape an extra piece to the bottom.) But as Daddy explains that there-s a remarkable relative behind each of her names, Alma realizes that she embodies their talents and character, and she comfortably communes with the spirits of the departed. She loves to draw like her paternal grandfather, José, and she-s so inspired by her activist maternal grandmother, Candela, that she strikes the classic Norma Rae pose and declares -I am Candela!- surrounded by her stuffed animals. Best of all, Daddy concludes, she is -the first and only Alma. You will make your own story.- Martinez-Neal-s first outing as author is a winner-her velvety and largely monochromatic pencil drawings, punctuated with cherry red, teem with emotional intimacy. It-s an origin story that envelops readers like a hug. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Apr.)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name for a little girl. So long, in fact, that she has to tape extra paper to the page when she writes it, just so it will fit. One day she complains about this to her father, and he sits down with her to tell Alma the story of her name. Tucked together in a cozy armchair, he opens a photo album to a black-and-white picture of Alma's grandmother Sofia. He tells his daughter how Sofia loved flowers and books, and Alma realizes she also loves those things. "I am Sofia," she declares. Next, she hears about her great-grandmother Esperanza, who dreamed of traveling; and when readers turn the page, Alma stands before a large world map, zigzagged with red string marking all the places the girl wishes to go e is Esperanza, too. As her father continues, Alma comes to understand that her name fits her perfectly. Martinez-Neal brings her gentle story to life through beautiful graphite- and colored-pencil artwork set against cream-colored backgrounds. Soft blue and red details pop against the charcoal scenes, which perfectly reflect the snapshots of Alma's family. While Alma feels enriched by learning her family's history, she is also empowered by the knowledge that she will give her name Alma its own story.
Word Count: 341
Reading Level: 2.2
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 195946 / grade: Lower Grades
Guided Reading Level: K
Fountas & Pinnell: K

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.


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