Alma and How She Got Her Name (Hardcover)

By Juana Martinez-Neal, Juana Martinez-Neal (Illustrator)

Candlewick Press (MA), 9780763693558, 32pp.

Publication Date: April 10, 2018

Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List

“Names can be a powerful reminder of our family history, as debut author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal shows in this beautiful story about a little girl with a very long name. Alma complains about her name (didn't we all as kids?) but slowly changes her mind as her father explains which relative each of her names honors. Dreamy illustrations with a limited color palette show Alma and her ancestors with quirky, engaging details. Whether you have a long, short, common, or unique name, this book will make you think a little bit about your name and smile. A treasure.”
— Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC
View the List


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 Jos 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; Jos , 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.

About the Author

Juana Martinez-Neal is the daughter and granddaughter of painters. She started her story in Lima, Peru, and then moved to the United States. The winner of a 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, Juana Martinez-Neal is still writing the story of her life, with the help of her husband and three children, in Arizona.