Southwestern author and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal created a bilingual children’s book to tell how Spanish-speaking parents celebrate family history in naming their children. En Español the book is “Alma y Cómo Obtuvo su Nombre.” In English the title is “Alma and How She Got Her Name.”

“There is a Latin-American tradition of trying to carry the family history,” says Martinez-Neal “when you give your son or daughter a relative’s name.” Often families will include the name of “father, or grandfather, an aunt, an uncle or great aunt” in the name of a newborn.

“The whole point of ‘Alma’ is the conversation between the parents and the child,” Martinez-Neal explains. “Why they got their name, who they got it from. There is a certain good pride that Alma earns throughout the [story]. I hope that everybody else that reads the book and learns the story of their name gets it, too.”

“No matter where your name comes from, no matter the ethnicity, or cultural background, just love [your] story,” says Martinez-Neal.


written by Christopher David De Los Santos.

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Author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal