by Juana Martinez-Neal
Candlewick Press, 2018
I admit to requesting this book only because it shared a name with one of my librarian friends, but I was delighted to find that there are so many other reasons to love it!
Alma Sofia Esperanza José Candela is unhappy with the length of her name,
"My name is so long, Daddy. It never fits," Alma said.
"Come here," he said. "Let me tell you the story of your name. Then you decide if it fits."
And with that, Daddy spins the thoughtful story of Alma's name, which honors special people from previous generations of her family. Alma finds a personal connection with each name. She too is a reader, an artist, a traveler, a caring person; and she finally understands the connection between her own unique self and those who came before her.
If the story of Alma's name is enchanting, the artwork is doubly so. Illustrations in "graphite, colored pencils, and print transfers on handmade textured paper" are gently cartoonish, in shades of gray with soft edges and muted colors used to highlight only the vibrancy of Alma in her red striped pants, and selected items from the past—the beautiful, blue painted pot that held Sofia's tree, or the chest that holds treasures from Esperanza's travels.
Short and sweet and perfect for storytime.
My copy of Alma and How She Got Her Name was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers
The tradition of naming a child after ancestors is common in many cultures. Each of my children bears a name from a previous generation, as do I. I requested this book because it reminded me of my friend, Alma, but after reading it, it reminded me of a long-ago coworker named "Sue." Sue came from Mexico but traced her heritage to Spain. Her sister often stopped by the office to chat. Her sister's name was "Lulu." Knowing that Lulu is usually a nickname, I asked Sue what her sister's real name was. "Susana," she replied. "But your name is Susana," I countered. "All of my sisters are named Susana," she answered. As it turns out, every sister in the family has a lengthy name that begins with Susana. Lulu was Susana de la Luz, or Susan of the Light. How lovely, no?