Pura Belpré: Her Life and Legacy

Pura Belpré: Her Life and LegacyPura Belpré was the first Puerto Rican librarian to be hired by the New York Public Library system. A gifted storyteller and puppeteer, she celebrated the stories that had been handed down across generations of her family, and her story "Pérez and Martina," which she published in 1932, has become a classic of children's literature.

Pura Belpré also believed in welcoming everyone to the library, offering numerous programs and titles in Spanish to her neighbors at a time when such "community outreach" — especially to the Spanish-speaking community — was unheard of.

Learn more about Pura Belpré, her legacy of librarianship, and the children's book award in her honor from the following resources!


2016 Pura Belpré Author Award

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir

Written by Margarita Engle

Author Honor books include:

  • The Smoking Mirror, written by David Bowles
  • Mango, Abuela, and Me, written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez

2016 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music

llustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle

Illustrator Honor books include:

  • My Tata's Remedies/Los remedios de me tata, illustrated by Antonio Castro L., written by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
  • Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez, written by Meg Medina
  • Funny Bones: Posade and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh

Congratulations to the 2016 Pura Belpré Award Winners!


The Pura Belpré Book Award

Celebrating Latino Cultural Experiences

The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, 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), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.

A list of Previous winners of Pura Belpre Award is availabe on the ALSC website.


About Pura Belpré

The Storyteller's Candle / La velita de los cuentos

By: Lucía González
Illustrated by: Lulu Delacre

This is the story of librarian Pura Belpré, told through the eyes of two young children who are introduced to the library and its treasures just before Christmas. Lulu Delacre's lovely illustrations evoke New York City at the time of the Great Depression, as well as the close-knit and vibrant Puerto Rican community that was thriving in El Barrio during this time. Bilingual text.

Interviews with Lucía González & Lulu Delacre

Learn more about Pura Belpré from the author and illustrator of The Storyteller's Candle — Lucía González and Lulu Delacre!

The full interviews with Lucía and Lulu are available in our Meet the Authors section.