Sesame Street icon Sonia Manzano will premiere the modern-day series Alma’s Way on October 4, 2021. The upcoming animated series from Fred Rogers Productions is inspired by Manzano’s childhood and centers on 6-year-old Alma Rivera, a proud, confident Puerto Rican girl who lives in the Bronx with her family among a diverse group of close-knit friends and community members.
According to the press release, the show is infused with Manzano’s humor and is grounded in a social and emotional curriculum. The series will also give children ages 4-6 the tools to find answers, express what they think and feel, and recognize and respect the unique perspective of others.
“I am so excited to be working with PBS KIDS and Fred Rogers Productions to introduce Alma, a strong and positive Puerto Rican girl who will empower young viewers,” said Manzano. “Alma’s way is to think things through, and we hope the new series will show kids that their thought processes are valid and give them the confidence to think critically.”
Besides Alma, the engaging series stars her parents, Mami and Papi; her younger brother, Junior; her abuelo; and their lovable little dog, Chacho. In every episode, Alma speaks directly to young viewers with asides and her “Think Through” moments, where she stops, thinks, and processes.
Viewers will enjoy Alma’s contagious optimism and determination, and most importantly, how she shows kids to figure things out when they face a problem. The young audience will tag along with Alma as she learns to speak up for herself, make tough decisions, figure out how to help friends, and so much more.
“The stories on Alma’s Way are designed to help kids learn to think for themselves and take into consideration the perspectives of those around them,” said Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer, Fred Rogers Productions. “As Alma thinks things through, she models self-advocacy, empathy, and social awareness. She’s a smart kid with a big heart — we hope young viewers will think she’s way, way, way fun to watch!”
The Latinx cultures will be represented through language, food, music, and customs in each episode. All viewers will see how other families are both alike and different from their own. Music is the “backbeat” of the series and includes traditional Puerto Rican styles like Plena, Bomba, salsa, and other Latino genres such as Cuban son and Colombian cumbia.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bill Sherman wrote and produced the original theme song, performed by Flaco Navaja and Summer Rose Castillo, who plays Alma. The series music is composed by Asher Lenz, Stephen Skratt, and Fabiola M. Mendez. The series will be available for viewers in both English and Spanish on all PBS KIDS platforms.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Alma and her family to PBS KIDS this fall,” said Linda Simensky, Head of PBS KIDS Content. “Alma’s unique humor and spirit are rooted in the everyday stories of her neighborhood. All children across America deserve to see themselves represented in stories that celebrate and give voice to their lived experiences. That philosophy is at the heart of PBS KIDS.”