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Diversity in Literature, Early/Young Readers, Family, Picture Books, Self-Image/Self-Esteem, STAR OF THE NORTH NOMINEE

ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME by Juana Martinez-Neal…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela

Alma thinks her name is too long.  Her father tells her the story behind each part of her name, telling her after she has heard the stories she can decide for herself if her name really is too long.

As her father tells her about each of the people in her family for whom she is named Alma becomes excited by the things and interests she shares with those who have come before her. She discovers that her name allows her a deep connection to family members from the past. She also realizes that the qualities and essence of who those people were combine their love and strength with her unique self as she creates her own story moving forward.

The illustrations are done in soft pinks, grays and blues. These gentle tones emphasize the loving, hopeful tenor of the story.  Alma and How She Got Her Name is a wonderful read-aloud at home or in the classroom.  It provides a great way to initiate conversations about how your children were given their names.  My children LOVED these kind of stories!  (In fact, the topic of name origin and meaning came up recently with a group of middle-schoolers and they were just as interested and anxious to share their histories as my children were at a younger age.) I know that with my own children, talking about the story behind their names gave me the opportunity to tell stories about my grandfather, who died when they were very small, but who was a remarkable man that I truly want them to feel is a part of who they are and know is another person on this earth who loved them unconditionally and without reservation.

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