Alma and How She Got Her Name

With a few hours left of Friday, here’s this week’s Perfect Picture Book. Juana Martinez-Neal’s debut as author/illustrator has hit the shelves and is truly a treasure!

Title: Alma and How She Got Her Name9780763693558_p0_v1_s550x406
Written and Illustrated by: Juana Martinez-Neal
Candlewick Press, 2018, fiction
Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/topics: names, family, identity

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela had a long name—
too long, if you asked her.

Overview: (from
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.

Activities and Resources:
Read a couple more books about names like these two favorites: Title: Tikki Tikki Tembo, Author: Arlene Mosel   Title: Chrysanthemum, Author: Kevin Henkes
Compare and contrast.
Find out the history or your name.
Writing: If you could change your name, what would you choose, and why?

Why I like this book:
Soon after reading the book, and reading it again, and again, five-year-old Corinne began a sing-song chant with Alma’s full name and a few lines from the story—a sure sign of a book that touched a child. Aren’t we all fascinated to learn about our names and the family history? This tender story with irresistible illustrations is sure to inspire conversations. I’d put it right up there with my old favorites about names I’ve shared above!

Visit the Epic Eighteen website to see more exciting debuts in 2018.

Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

8 thoughts on “Alma and How She Got Her Name

  1. I used to read Chrysanthemums to my kids all the time. Such a sweet book. This one sounds precious too. Fortunately, my library has it on order, so I added myself to the list to get it. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my friends has five (maybe six?) names – each from a relative or a saint, each with a story. I sometimes – but not too often – wish I had a long list of names… like Tikki Tikki Tembo…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a friend who was born to a free spirit mom in the middle of a “fairy ring” in the redwoods in California. This was the 1960s. Thank goodness there was no problem. But each woman who attended the birth gave my friend a name. So her name includes the flower, Lupine, and the word Redwood, among several others. I’m thinking she might identify with this little girl. So much story in a name!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I just found this wonderful book at my local bookstore. You’re right, it’s wonderful! I love it. And my bookstore carries it in the Spanish version also — doubly wonderful. I’m recommending this one to all.

    Liked by 1 person

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