The Pura Belpré award is named after the first Latina (Puerto Rican) librarian at the New York Public Library. The award was established in 1996. It is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA, and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.
Ms. Belpré was a gifted storyteller and puppeteer. She celebrated the stories that had been handed down across generations of her family. Furthermore, “Pérez and Martina,” her book published in 1932, has become a classic of children’s literature.
Pura Belpré believed in welcoming everyone to the library. She offered numerous programs and titles in Spanish. This was a revolutionary act in her neighborhood because this kind of “community outreach” was unheard of, especially to the Spanish-speaking community.
Learn more about Pura Belpré, her legacy of librarianship, and the 2019 winners of her children’s book award HERE!