🏆 Caldecott Book Award Winner
**The most prestigious children’s book award possible.
Ages: 4 – 8 years old
My maiden name is fairly unique. My grandfather shortened it when he immigrated from the former republic of Yugoslavia as it was too difficult to pronounce.
I didn’t appreciate it when I was a kid. It rhymed with the word spinach, which became my official nickname for the entirety of primary school.
I eventually grew to be proud of it, especially after learning of grandfather’s struggles from losing all to a region in political turmoil and starting afresh in a new country. I was proud of his story, and therefore proud of my name and heritage.
Alma and How She Got Her Name is perfect for teaching children to be proud of who they are. Much like Alma, I didn’t appreciate my name until someone told me the story behind it!
Alma has a long name: Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela. If you asked her, she would say it’s too long.
Alma’s daddy explains the name Sofia comes from her grandmother, and Esperanza comes from her great grandmother. Esperanza wanted to travel the world, but never made it out of the city she was born. As a result, her heart traveled with her only son who sailed all over the world.
Daddy explains the name Jose comes from his daddy, who was an artist. Alma excitedly feels a connection as she too likes to draw, announcing ”I drew a kitty cat for you, Daddy!”
Alma’s daddy explains the stories behind the other names and she loves hearing them. She wants to know where the name Alma came from. Daddy says he chose it just for her and she is the first and only, explaining that she will make her own story.
With a newfound respect for her name, Alma decides that it fits just right and that she also has a story to tell.
Juana Martinez-Neal illustrates Alma and How She Got Her Name uniquely with a graphite and colored pencil style. The muted red, blue and grayscale colors on a cream background is soft and nostalgic. Alma herself is incredibly cute with rosy red cheeks and high waisted red striped pants.
It can be hard for young children to appreciate and be proud of their differences…
Alma and How She Got Her Name is a great book for teaching children how to celebrate and take pride in their name and heritage.