Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Alma and How She Got Her Name” as Want to Read:
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Alma and How She Got Her Name

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  2,057 ratings  ·  562 reviews
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 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 flower
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Candlewick Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Alma and How She Got Her Name, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Alma and How She Got Her Name

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,057 ratings  ·  562 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It all starts with a name, Alma's long name. And then a conversation with her father, tracing each part of her name that belonged to someone in her family tree. Each name that connects her to the past and to her family and to her current and future self.

I love the structure of the book, the way sweet Alma peeks into and enters the past on every other spread, the colors—blue for history and pink for present—and all the facial expressions of the characters.

My favorite page is "I am Candela!" wit
Jillian Heise
I am in 💖 with this picture book! Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is adorable, even if her name is a mouthful. The story is so sweet as her father teaches her about the ancestors who she is named after, and why he chose those names for her. A story about identity, pride, and family, all combined with the stunning illustrations of Martinez-Neal is a must-share in the classroom. Bonus: Spanish version will be released simultaneously with the English version.
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had to flip through this book a few times and could do it many more times and still get enjoyment. The art has so many interesting layers and details, I kept wanting to look back at it and study it. Martinez-Neal has a very interesting sketchbook-like style. I love the way she sparingly incorporates color and also the way she creates the old photos of people from the MC Alma's family. There is a scrapbook/photo album feel to the way she incorporates these elements.
In addition to the illustrati
Kate ☀️ Olson
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@candlewickpress #partner This is the sweet story of how Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela got her name, told to her by her father, and it is absolutely fabulous. It will be available in both English and Spanish editions, although the English version does also include some Spanish words on signs in the book. The author's note about her own LONG name and how she despaired over it while growing up in Lima, Peru before growing to love it later on in the US is a wonderful addition to the story. ...more
Baby Bookworm
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is Alma And How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, a wonderful tale of a little girl with a very big – and very special – name.

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name, so long that it often doesn’t fit when she tries to write it out. She tells her father, who sits her down and promises to explain what her name means, then she can decide i
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I LOVE this book! Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal shares the story of sweet, little Alma. The story begins with her spelling out Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela and complaining to her father about the many parts of her name. Her dad sits her down and shares the story of each part of her name and offers her the opportunity to understand the history of her name.

Juana Martinez-Neal uses pinks, grays, blacks and blues to delicately illustrate this
Mary Ann
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I love this book. As one young reader told me, “it makes me want to learn more about my own name.” Alma helps us all feel like we are special for being unique. Alma Sofia Esperanza Josi Pura Candela worries about her long name until her father tells her family stories, one for each person she's named after. The illustrations are soft and gently sweet, showing the distinctive essence of each ancestor and the affections between Alma and her family.
Laura Harrison
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Warm, endearing artwork. Important story about family names and heritage.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Many people in Spanish speaking countries have very long family names. This sweet book offers children a sense of history as they explore what their names might mean, and their own family tree.
Sarah Hannah
Love the art, love the story. Definitely going on the shortlist of books for baby showers and birthdays.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books About Names and/or Featuring a Latino Cultural Outlook
Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela thinks that her name is too long, and complains to her father that it doesn't "fit." He sits her down and tells her the stories of all the family members she is named after, from her grandmother Sofia to her great-aunt Pura, and as she comes to appreciate these ancestors, Alma becomes more appreciative of her name. In the end, her father tells her that her first name, Alma, is hers alone...

Although author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal has provided the art
Kaethe Douglas
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just lovely. The concept, the art, the text. It all works together beautifully.

And also it has the daughter sitting with her father in that platonic ideal of a reading chair.

Library copy.
Mary Lee
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: latinx, 2018, picture-book
LOVE LOVE LOVE this and will add it to my stack of books for exploring names at the beginning of the year!
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Darling tale of how Alma got her name.
A beautiful story about the importance of names and how they shape our identity.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-reads
Not only is the story uplifting, but the illustrations are gorgeous graphite pencils and soft pastels.
Alma Dinsmore
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every year for my birthday, my husband has gotten me something with my name on it. He's done it since we first started dating when he got me chocolate from the Alma Chocolate Company. This year he bought me this book. It is such a sweet book. Especially for someone who never thought their name "fit" while growing up. While my name isn't nearly the mouthful that Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela's is, it still has it's own story and I'm proud of it.
Joy (joyous reads)
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is such a wonderful story about the history of a little girl's full name.

Alma Esperanza Jose Pura Candela.

Nowadays, the names of our kids hardly reflect our heritage. I know my kids' names don't have any history to speak of. We chose their names for the simple reasons that we liked them. I think it's beautiful when your child asks you where their name came from and you can tell them a short history about it.
Chance Lee
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-it
Absolutely gorgeous artwork. The carefully chosen color palette and soft pencil drawings create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for this story about a young girl's name. The book does a nice job of explaining to Alma the history of her name and to people from other cultures who may not understand why certain people have such long names.
Julie Kirchner
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book about the importance of names and where they come from. So many times I hear kids making fun of names or kids saying it’s okay when their names are mispronounced. This book celebrates every part of Alma’s name and where it comes from. A wonderful story with lovely illustrations.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A little girl thinks her name is too long (Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela) until her dad tells her about each of her namesakes. What a sweet variation on a common theme, with lovely, dreamy illustrations that were pretty unique. Very well structured, too! :)
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A simple conversation between a father and daughter, but a strong message about identity. The blurred lines and gentle palette of the illustrations soften the overall tone, but don't be lulled into thinking this is anything other than a powerful lesson in cultural heritage and pride.
Sara Cook
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sweet illustrations and a lovely story of the history of Alma's long name. Would be great to start a name unit for a classroom.
Ms. B
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super cute story about how a little girl ends up with five middle names! It kind of reminded me of the 1974 Caldecott Honor Tikki Tikki Tembo which also featured a child with a many names.
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-easy
Umm this is so sweet..I was reading it to my eight month old and teared up so.. Yeah.. Lol
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Update - Review on blog: https://bookishrealmreviews.blogspot....

This was such an important book for me for two reasons:

1) It's the name of my great-grandmother who passed away last November.
2) I'm currently pregnant with my little girl and each one of her names has a meaning. Her two middle names are an indication of her grandmother and great-grandmother and her last name has a lot of history behind it.

I thought think that this is a great book for any parent that is interested in teaching th
First sentence: Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela had a long name--too long, if you asked her. "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."

Premise/plot: After Alma hears the story of her name will she change her mind? This picture book celebrates families and individuality. Also storytelling.

My thoughts: I love, love, love the premise of this one. I love the story telling. I love the emphas
My name is Catherine Victoria Saavedra Pic. Catherine after my mother and Victoria in honor of my grandfather, Victor. Saavedra from my dad and Pic from my mom. Names are not only important as identity markers, but to understand and see ones progression of their own family. I love my Latin name and my Latin culture.

Please read the author's note at the end of the book, it makes this lovely book even lovelier.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a story about how all of us got our names. Connect this with a little family history research--get the posterity started young learning about and remembering their ancestors. Family stories! Nothing richer.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Thank You, Omu!
  • Dreamers
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star
  • The Rough Patch
  • Mommy's Khimar
  • All Are Welcome
  • Carmela Full of Wishes
  • The Remember Balloons
  • Drawn Together
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
  • The Day You Begin
  • Let the Children March
  • All the Way to Havana
  • You Hold Me Up
  • Grandma's Purse
  • Islandborn
  • La Princesa and the Pea
  • The Breaking News
See similar books…
Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration for "La Princesa and the Pea" (written by Susan M. Elya, Putnam/Penguin).

"Alma and How She Got Her Name" is her first picture book as author-illustrator. It will be published by Candlewick Press in April 2018. Martinez-Neal says that the essence of ALMA, which has autobiographical elements, is “you are everyone tha