That little Sonia is voiced by one other Bronx Latina: Summer time Rose Castillo, a 9-year-old from Throgs Neck who mentioned she recognized with Alma. Castillo added, although, that the sequence is “not nearly Puerto Ricans, it’s not nearly Latinas; it’s about so many several types of households.”
For Manzano, that meant not solely giving Alma playmates who’re African American, South Asian and white but additionally creating family and friends members who’re Hispanic in numerous methods. Alma’s papi, as an illustration, is Afro-Caribbean, whereas her Uncle Nestor is Cuban, and a neighbor, Beto, is Mexican American. These distinctions are mirrored within the tastes, vocabulary and look of the characters, whom the animators at Pipeline Studios, an organization close to Toronto, painting with various pores and skin tones.
“Latinos aren’t a monolith,” mentioned Jorge Aguirre, the sequence’s head author. “That’s one of many issues we get to discover, right down to the language, meals, music. It’s an amazing sandbox to be taking part in in.”
That sandbox is American, too. Whereas Alma refers to her grandfather as Abuelo, she calls Manzano’s character Granny Isa. Manzano intentionally combined the terminology as a result of, she mentioned, “the tradition of this household is each Spanish and English.” In a single episode, Isa’s flight from Europe is canceled, and she will be able to’t go to the Riveras. Alma figures out that she will be able to nonetheless dance along with her ebullient granny by means of a video connection — an answer that ought to resonate with pandemic-weary kids.
Manzano additionally invented a personality with a incapacity: Alma’s musically gifted cousin, Eddie Mambo, who has cerebral palsy. The producers relied on medical consultants to information Pipeline in portraying how he strikes and adapts. Manzano based mostly him on each her actual cousin Eddie, a musician with out disabilities, and a boy she knew in her youth who had misplaced the complete use of his legs to polio.