Alma Flor Ada and You, Volume I

Alma Flor Ada and You, Volume I

Playing on the phrase, “the author and you”–a common reading comprehension strategy that teaches the learner how to look at the words of an author and make inferences about what is being said–this series helps the teacher and teacher-librarian understand the underlying purposes of an author as they prepare learning activities for their students. The series focuses primarily on books for the elementary age child (K-6), featuring insights into the author’s background, purposes and goals in writing his books. By furnishing an overview of the author’s works, the books in the series give teachers the big picture. Each book features personal information about the author, including insight into why he writes the type of books he does. In addition, lesson plans and/or activities are offered for each of the author’s books featured. Lessons stress the particular interests of the author so the “author and you (the teacher)” can build a collaborative instructional relationship using the material provided. Each book is written by the featured author or in close collaboration with her. This second book in the series features the life and work of prolific author, Alma Flor Ada, discussing her life and work as a bilingual children’s author. Because Alma Flor has compiled such a large volume of work, the series will feature two volumes about her. The first volume focuses on her life and her picture books for children. Discussion of Alma Flor’s childhood in Cuba, her schooling in Europe, and her immigration to America is interwoven with discussions of her children’s picture books. The reader thus learns the genesis for the ideas and the stories. This book provides a fascinating window into the life andwork of the beloved children’s author and her desire to help children develop the writer within. Grades K-6.


Foreword: A Promise for a Better World by Janet Hill and Anthony L. Manna


PART I: My Life as an Author

An Author’s Journey
On Writing for Young Readers
The Special Process of Creating Picture Books
Coauthoring Books with F. Isabel Campoy
When Words Sing: Suni Paz
The Readings that started the Journey

PART II Creating Original Picture Books

Letters and I

  • The Origins of the Hidden Forest World
  • About the Characters

Newspapers and I

  • The Role of Newspapers in My Life

Latino Identity

  • In Search of a Common Name
  • A Dual Heritage

The Joy of Family and Traditions

  • The Yearly Miracle of Christmastime
  • Piñatas, Wonders and Surprises

Respect for Farmworkers
Childhood Memories
The Richness of Chidren’s Folklore

  • Friendship in Diversity: The Joy of Life
  • Diversity and Freedom

The World of Nature

  • Growing Up in Nature
  • The Wonders of a Seed
  • The Wonders in an Egg
  • No, I Don’t Like to Eat Bugs
  • Birds and Helpers

The World of Fantasy
In Search of Identity
The Promise of Transformation

PART III: Retelling Folktales and legends

The Rich Heritage of Folktales and Legends
Traditional Characters in Contemporary Settings


The invitation from Libraries Unlimited to write two volumes to share with teachers, parents and librarians the stories behind my stories was a rare gift. To that moment I had not gone into analyzing why I had written each of my books. It was a beautiful moment of discovery to find out that even the simplest or shortest of picture books indeed contain an important part of my life, to delight remembering how much my own children had been inspiration for many of my books and to recognize how much of the values and feelings I hold most dearly have motivated many of my words.

The joy of writing these books is enhanced whenever readers share with me that my journey of discovery has inspired them to reflect on their own journey.