Alma Flor Ada and You, Volume II

Alma Flor Ada and You, Volume II


Following up on the first volume featuring prolific author Alma Flor Ada, this second volume offers further insight into her life and work. Here the author discusses her work as a poet, dramatist, writer of memoirs, re teller of folktales and legends for children, and original stories. She discusses her collaborative work and the process involved in working with Isabel Campoy with whom she has co-authored numerous books, with different illustrators, in particular Leslie Tryon, with songwriter Suni Paz, and her daughter Rosalma Zubizarreta, who has translated many of Alma Flor’s books.

The book is enhanced by chapters contributed by Isabel Campoy, Leslie Tryon, Suni Paz and Rosalma Zubizarreta.

Alma Flor’s s work as a translator and promoter of Spanish and English books for all children –well known and valued in bilingual education– is also detailed. Finally, drawing on the author’s years of experience as Professor of Education and her many author’s visit to schools, the book furnishes useful ideas and activities for using her books in the classroom to spark the writer within every young reader.

The book concludes with an excellent chapter by Janet Hill and Anthony L. Manna who offer an insightful analysis of the significance of Alma Flor’s work in the fields of children’s literature and education


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.

Two volumes in the series feature 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 and work of the beloved children’s author and her desire to help children develop the writer within.


Introduction: Words of Hope. Living to Write, Writing to Love

PART I: Becoming an Author

My Elementary School Yeras
My High School Years

PART II: Creating Original Picture Books

Hearts and Minds: Illustrating Children’s Books by Leslie Tryon’
Writing in Collaboration: One Plus One is One, or Two by Isabel Campoy
When Poetry Becomes Song by Suni Paz.
Learning the Act of Translation by Rosalma Zubizarreta

PART III: Writing in Multiple Genres

The Richness of Multiple Voices
Poetry and I
It’s Play Time!
Telling My Own Life Stories
Creating Non-Fiction Books

PART IV: The Readers’ Voices

The Transformative Power of Language: Alma Flor Ada’s Gift to Her Readers Richness of Multiple Voices by Janet Hill and Anthony L. Manna

  • The Power of Language
  • The Memoirs
  • The Importance of Names and Naming
  • The Value of Shared Experience
  • Conclusion

Questions Most Frequently Asked by Children
Thank You Letters from Children and Teachers
Alma Flor Ada Literary Works
Literary Publications for Adults: Novels
Literary Publications: Children’s Literature


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.
This book was enriched by the reflections and words of very dear collaborators: Isabel Campoy, Suni Paz, Leslie Tryon and my own daughter Rosalma Zubizarreta who share their own experiences as creators in different fields.

I felt very much honored by the chapter written by Janet Hill and Anthony L. Manna who had such a generous interpretation of my work.
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 journeys.


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