Alma Flor Ada

Alma Flor Ada grew up with her extended family in a big house on the outskirts of Camagüey, Cuba. As a young girl, she loved to read, play outside on the farm, and listen to her mother sing old ballads at bedtime. Alma Flor's grandmother used to recite poetry and tell her traditional folktales. After studying English and attending bilingual schools, Alma Flor Ada earned a scholarship to a college in the United States at the age of 17.

For many years, Ada followed her academic interests around the globe. In Spain she earned a degree in Hispanic Studies. In Peru she received a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature. After conducting post-doctoral research at Harvard University, Ada became a professor at the University of San Francisco, where she directed the Center for Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. Over the years, Ada has been an influential leader in the field of bilingual education in the United States.

Alma Flor Ada's career as an author first began when she started developing text books for her high school students in Peru. Her first children's book, which she originally wrote for her daughter, became required reading for tens of thousands of Peruvian school children. Since moving to the United States, Ada has developed educational materials, retold folktales, and written original picture books and middle grade novels. Among her many awards are the Christopher Award for The Golden Coin and the Pura Belpré Award for Under the Royal Palms.

Alma Flor Ada lives Mill Valley, California and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of San Francisco.

Books by This Author

Dancing Home

Product Description: Mexico may be her parents' home, but it's certainly not Margie's. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American — just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she's created for herself crumbles. Things aren't easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn't felt like home since her father went North to find work. Lupe, as much as Margie, is in need of a friend. Little by little, the girls' individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what "home" really means.

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English

Using the alphabet as a pattern, paintings and brief poems explore rural life in Mexico presented first in Spanish and followed by English. From A to Z, brilliant illustrations and fluid poems evoke the plants, and more and the emotional impact on the lives of farm workers.


Illustrated by: Kim Howard
Age Level: 3-6

Do you know why a weather vane has a little rooster on the top, spinning around to tell us which way the wind is blowing? Here is the answer in this old story about Half-Chicken, who has one eye, one leg, and one wing. His adventures take him far and wide until he's carried straight to the top, in this lively retelling — in Spanish and English — of a traditional folktale.

I Love Saturdays y domingos

A girl visits both sets of grandparents on weekends. On Saturdays, she speaks English with Grandpa and Grandma, while on Sundays, los domingos, she speaks Spanish with Abeulito and Abeulita. The format provides a glimpse at the subtle differences between cultures and highlights their similarities, one of which is each set of grandparents' love for their granddaughter. Spanish words are interspersed in the fluid text.

Let Me Help!

Illustrated by: Angela Domínguez
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: "Let me help! Let me help!" Perico learns this phrase from little Martita, who's been saying it a lot lately. When the whole family scrambles to prepare for Cinco de Mayo, Perico knows there must be some way he can help — even if he is just a parrot. But at every turn Perico is shooed away, until he finally figures out how he can add to the Cinco de Mayo fun.

Mamá Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury

Age Level: 0-3

This book is a collection of Spanish-language lullabies, finger games, nursery rhymes, jump-rope songs, riddles, birthday songs, and more. It compiles songs from different Spanish-speaking countries. The English translations keep the essence of the native language, and grab the reader using captivating terminology.

My Name Is Maria Isabel

Illustrated by: K. Dyble Thompson
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name. "We already have two Marías in this class," says her teacher. "Why don't we call you Mary instead?" But María Isabel has been named for her Papá's mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she's lost the most important part of herself?