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Alma, the 6-year-old Puerto Rican heroine of PBS Kids.
Alma, the six-year-old Puerto Rican heroine of PBS Kids. Graphic: PBS Kids

'Alma's Way' the youngest Puerto Rican heroine on PBS

The animated series Alma's Way, the story of a six-year-old Puerto Rican girl, premiered on PBS on Monday, Oct. 4.

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On Monday, Oct. 4, Alma's Way, an animated series starring a six-year-old Puerto Rican girl who lives with her family in the Bronx, premiered on PBS. Alma is a determined girl, confident of herself and her roots, who loves mofongo and salsa. Created by Puerto Rican actress and writer Sonia Manzano, the series is a new addition to PBS Kids.

Based on her own experience, Manzano presents aspects of Puerto Rican culture and other Latino groups through Alma and her family. Food, music and language are present in every episode.

"We're looking through the lens of a Puerto Rican family, but it's a universal story," said the writer.

With the series, Manzano seeks to enable children to be reflective, develop empathy and social awareness, while learning about decision-making.

"We live in a database society, kids are expected to memorize a lot of information and learn something at the exact same moment as their peers, rather than after or before," Manzano explained to Variety in an interview.

The series creator hopes all children "will see themselves reflected in society so they can become and feel a part of it." Manzano explained that she didn't see herself reflected when she watched television, never seeing a person of color, let alone a Latina woman.

"All the actors in Alma's Way are Latino and the lead writer, Jorge Aguirre, has parents from Colombia. All the writers are from various cultures," the writer explained. 

Composer, actor and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda is the creator of the series' theme song, performed by Flaco Navaja, a singer originally from the Bronx. With 11-minute episodes, the series hopes to positively reach out to children, especially those of color.

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