|When Alma Flor Ada was a young girl, she was surrounded by stories: each day her grandmother and an uncle invented interesting tales to entertain her with, and at bedtime her father would spin fables he created just for her. Because Alma's grandmother thought the 3-year-old was ready to learn to read, she began teaching her by writing the names of flowers and plants in the dirt. Alma says that as she grew older, she remembered that experience and felt that there was a strong connection between the act of reading and nature's beauty--that's why her family could always find her reading in a tree or writing by a river. Since family storytelling was such a large part of her childhood, two of Alma's books, WHERE THE FLAME TREES BLOOM and UNDER THE ROYAL PALMS, are story collections based on her childhood memories. A fun fact: her book THE UNICORN OF THE WEST was based on a bedtime story her father told her.