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Pura Belpré Award

The Pura Belpré Award is presented 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. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It has been given every other year since 1996. Beginning with the 2009 award, it has be given annually.

A complete list of winning and honor books may be found by clicking here.

2012 Author Winner Garcia McCall, Guadalupe Under the Mesquite
Throughout her high school years, as her mother battles cancer, Lupita takes on more responsibility for her house and seven younger siblings, while finding refuge in acting and writing poetry.
2012 Illustrator Winner Tonatiuh, Duncan Tonatiuh, Duncan Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
Highlights the accomplishments of Mexican painter, activist, and muralist Diego Rivera.
2011 Author Winner Ryan, Pam Muñoz Sís, Peter The Dreamer
A fictionalized biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who grew up a painfully shy child, ridiculed by his overbearing father, but who became one of the most widely-read poets in the world.
2011 Illustrator Winner Velasquez, Eric Velasquez, Eric Grandma's Gift
The author describes Christmas at his grandmother's apartment in Spanish Harlem the year she introduced him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Diego Velazquez's portrait of Juan de Pareja, which has had a profound and lasting effect on him.
JE VELAS (Holiday Collection)
2010 Author Winner Alvarez, Julia Return to Sender
After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.
2010 Illustrator Winner Mora, Pat López, Rafael Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros
Children read aloud in various settings to celebrate of El Día de los niños, or Children's Day, in this bilingual story. Includes facts about Mexico's annual celebration of children (April 30) and the book fiestas that are often included.
2009 Author Winner Engle, Margarita The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom
It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not free. People have been rounded up in reconcentration camps with too little food and too much illness. Rosa is a nurse, but she dares not go to the camps. So she turns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her.
811.54 EN3S
2009 Illustrator Winner Morales, Yuyi Morales, Yuyi Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book
As Señor Calavera prepares for Grandma Beetle's birthday he finds an alphabetical assortment of unusual presents, but with the help of Zelmiro the Ghost, he finds the best gift of all.
2008 Author Winner Engle, Margarita The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano
Juan Francisco Manzano was born in 1797 into the household of wealthy slaveowners in Cuba. He spent his early years at the side of his owner's wife, entertaining her friends. His poetry was his outlet, reflecting the beauty and cruelty of his world. Written in verse.
J 811.54 ENGLE
2008 Illustrator Winner Montes, Marisa Morales, Yuyi Los Gatos Black on Halloween
Easy to read, rhyming text about Halloween night incorporates Spanish words, from las brujas riding their broomsticks to los monstruos whose monstrous ball is interrupted by a true horror.
2006 Author Winner Canales, Viola The Tequila Worm
Sofia grows up in the close-knit community of the barrio in McAllen, Texas, then finds that her experiences as a scholarship student at an Episcopal boarding school in Austin only strengthen her ties to family and her "comadres."
2006 Illustrator Winner Mora, Pat Colon, Raul Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About A Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart
Doña Flor, a giant lady with a big heart, sets off to protect her neighbors from what they think is a dangerous animal, but soon discovers the tiny secret behind the huge noise.
2004 Author Winner Alvarez, Julia   Before We Were Free
In the early 1960s in the Dominican Republic, twelve-year-old Anita learns that her family is involved in the underground movement to end the bloody rule of the dictator, General Trujillo.
2004 Illustrator Winner Morales, Yuyi Morales, Yuyi Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
In this version of a traditional tale, Senor Calavera arrives at Grandma Beetle's door, ready to take her to the next life, but after helping her count, in English and Spanish, as she makes her birthday preparations, he changes his mind.
J398.20972 MORAL
2002 Author Winner Ryan, Pam Munoz Esperanza Rising
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.
2002 Illustrator Winner Soto, Gary Guevara, Susan Chato and the Party Animals
Chato decides to throw a "pachanga" for his friend Novio Boy, who has never had a birthday party.
2000 Author Winner Ada, Alma Flor Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba
The author recalls her life and impressions growing up in Cuba.
2000 Illustrator Winner Garza, Carmen Lomas Garza, Carmen Lomas Magic Windows
In Spanish and English, Carmen Lomas Garza portrays her family's Mexican customs through cut-paper work.
S J306.85
1998 Author Winner Martinez, Victor Parrot in the Oven: mi vida
Manny relates his coming of age experiences as a member of a poor Mexican American family in which the alcoholic father only adds to everyone's struggle.
1998 Illustrator Winner Soto, Gary Garcia, Stephanie Snapshots from the Wedding
Maya, the flower girl, describes a Mexican-American wedding through snapshots of the day's events, beginning with the procession to the altar and ending with her sleeping after the dance.
1996 Author Winner Cofer, Judith Ortiz An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio
Twelve stories about young people caught between their Puerto Rican heritage and their American surroundings.
1996 Illustrator Winner Soto, Gary Guevara, Susan Chato's Kitchen
To get the "ratoncitos," little mice, who have moved into the barrio to come to his house, Chato the cat prepares all kinds of good food: fajitas, frijoles, salsa, enchiladas, and more.

If you need help finding these or other Library materials, please check with anyone in Children's Services. We look forward to seeing you at the Library!

This list is maintained by Children's Services Librarians.
Comments and suggestions may be sent to Mary R. Voors, Manager, Children's Services at

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