|Alma Flor Ada's Biography
grandmother taught me to read before I was three by writing the
names of plants and flowers on the earth with a stick. Reading and
nature became very intertwined for me. The joy of reading a book
was increased if I could read it outdoors, especially high up in
the branches of a large tree. From that favorite hideaway I could
also observe the river down below and the world of small animals
living in and around the river.
My grandmother and one of my uncles
were great storytellers. And every night, at bedtime, my father
told me stories he invented to explain to me all that he knew about
the history of the world. With all these storytellers around me,
it is not a surprise that I like to tell stories. And it was a great
joy when one of the bedtime stories that I made up for some of my
favorite nieces became a beautiful book, The Unicorn of the
My growing-up years were a fun and
exciting time. I have compiled some of the stories of my childhood
in Cuba, as well as stories that I heard from my family when I was
a child, in the books Where the Flame Trees Bloom and Under
the Royal Palms.
Besides writing children's books, I
am a professor at the University of San Francisco. I also work in
schools with teachers, children, and parents. The feelings that
children experience when teachers do not acknowledge their real
name led me to write My Name is María Isabel. All
my life I have had a difficult time getting people to acknowledge
that my first name is Alma Flor, so I know personally how this feels.
I enjoy writing many different kinds of books. I Love Saturdays…
Y Domingos! portrays a young girl who has two very different
sets of grandparents, like my own grandchildren do. I also enjoy
retelling the old tales that I loved so much as a child. That is
why I wrote The Three Golden Oranges, so that children
in the United States can get to know one of the most beautiful of
the traditional Spanish stories.
Knowing two languages has made the world richer for me. I believe
that all children should be given the opportunity of learning two
or more languages when they are young, and can do so easily. For
that reason I am delighted that most of my books are published both
in English and in Spanish. And it makes me even happier that my
own daughter has done many of the translations of my books.
For more information about Alma Flor Ada, please visit her Web site.