‘Sesame Street’ Alum Sonia Manzano on Animating the Bronx and Latina Representation in ‘Alma’s Way’

Sonia Manzano played Maria on “Sesame Street” for over 40 years, becoming a household name in the U.S. and a trailblazing Latina in the burgeoning public television landscape. Now, Manzano is trading Muppets for the mofongo-loving Alma Rivera, a six-year-old animated Puerto Rican girl of her own invention (and heavily based on her own experience), who lives in the Bronx with her parents, brother and a host of colorful neighbors.

“Alma’s Way” engages directly with viewers as its optimistic and confident protagonist works through challenges and spends time with her diverse friend group, showcasing various aspects of Latin culture, food and music along each episode’s 11-minute trajectory. Co-executive produced by Manzano and Ellen Doherty, chief creative officer of Fred Rogers Productions, and animated by Pipeline Studios, the series hopes to teach children social awareness through the characters’ modeling of empathetic decision-making processes and “Think-Through” moments.

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