Juana Martinez-Neal is the daughter and granddaughter of painters. She started her story in Lima, Peru, where she attended the School of Fine Arts at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú before moving to the United States. She received the 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya. Alma marks her author-illustrator debut. Juana Martinez-Neal is still writing the story of her life, with the help of her husband and three children, in Arizona.