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Ada, Alma Flor

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature

Michael Cart

Ada, Alma Flor 

(1938–), American author, translator, scholar, and bilingual educator. A professor at the University of San Francisco and director there of the Center for Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults, Ada was born in Camiguey, Cuba, and was educated in Spain, Peru, and the United States, where she did postgraduate work at Harvard University. A renowned advocate for bilingual and multicultural education, she is the author of numerous textbooks that are distinguished by their lively narrative content. Writing in both English and Spanish, she is also the author of more than thirty children's books that have been published not only in the United States but also throughout Latin America.

Alma Flor Ada.Click to view larger

Alma Flor Ada

. Ttitle page of Gathering the Sun (New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 2000). Reproduced courtesy of the Cotsen Children's Library, Princeton University Library

In all of her work this renowned storyteller has celebrated the culture, traditions, and natural landscape not only of her native Cuba but also of the entire Latin American world. In the process she has become, she feels, a liaison between cultures. Among her most notable books are her retellings of traditional Latin American and Spanish folklore (The Rooster Who Went to His Uncle's Wedding, 1993; The Lizard and the Sun, 1997), her original stories that—set in both Latin America and the United States—explore issues of cultural understanding and personal identity (My Name Is Maria Isabel, 1993; Gathering the Sun, 1997), and stories of her early years in Cuba (Where the Flame Trees Bloom, 1998; Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba, 1998). She is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Christopher Award, the Pura Belpre Award, Argentina's Maria Salotti Gold Medal Award, and the Once Upon a World Award of the Museum of Tolerance. Additionally, many of her books have been chosen as Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies.

Michael Cart


Cullinan, Bernice E. “Alma Flor Ada.” In The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, edited by Bernice E. Cullinan and Diane G. Person, 4–5. New York: Continuum, 2001.Find this resource: