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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Two New Picture Books: Alma And How She Got Her Name and On Gull Beach

Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal 
April 10, 2018 
Candlewick Press 
Amazon / B&N / Indiebound 
Source: from pub for review 

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 flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names. 

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 that came before you, and you are uniquely yourself.” Candlewick Press acquired the book in a seven publisher auction and will publish in simultaneous English-and Spanish-language editions.  Juana was named to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012. She was born in Lima, the capital of Peru, and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, two sons, and daughter. 

Alma and How She Got Her Name is utterly charming and  unforgettable! Sweet Alma and her daddy have a beautiful conversation about the story of her six names and the people they represent. As someone who grew up with a Korean name (a name I share with my grandmother and niece), I feel like Alma is a kindred spirit! I absolutely adore the illustrations with their pops of color. This wonderful little book encourages readers to embrace and celebrate their pasts, cultures, and all the unique and amazing things that make them who they are.

On Gull Beach 
by Jane Yolen 
pictures by Bob Marstell 
March 27, 2018 
Cornell Lab Publishing Group 
Amazon / B&N / Indiebound 
Source: from pub for review 

Together again! On Gull Beach reunites bestselling children’s author Jane Yolen and award-winning illustrator Bob Marstall for the third installment of the acclaimed On Bird Hill and Beyondseries of children’s books written for the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 
 In On Bird Hill, Yolen and Marstall took readers on a surreal journey with a boy and his dog as they see the natural world, ultimately witnessing the miracle of a chick emerging from an egg.  On Duck Pond continued their journey, this time at a serene pond filled with birds, frogs, and turtles who are suddenly disrupted by their intrusion, but soon settle back into a quiet equilibrium.   On Gull Beach brings us to an idyllic shoreline in Cape Cod, where gulls hover, dive, and chase with pitched acrobatics in pursuit of a seastar. This enchanting sequel in a brand new habitat will delight readers young and old.  As with all Cornell Lab Publishing Group books, 35% of net proceeds from the sale of this title goes directly to the Cornell Lab to support projects such as children's educational and community programs. 

 Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, loved by children and bird watchers of all ages; You Nest Here With Me, a popular new favorite co-authored with her daughter Heidi E. Stemple; and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs…?  Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages Many of Ms. Yolen’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind.  She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.  Her website is 

Bob Marstall is the illustrator of eleven nonfiction children’s books, including The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of- a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections. In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.  His website is 

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. 

On Gull Beach plops readers on a lovely beach in the north and takes them on a memorable journey to save a starfish from some hungry gulls. Little readers will enjoy learning all about the fascinating nature surrounding Gull Beach. Marstall's soft, pretty illustrations are the perfect companion to Yolen's simple rhymes.

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