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!

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.

More diverse perspectives

For additional awards that celebrate diverse perspectives, see the award list in our multicultural literature section.

2024 Pura Belpré Winners

Author Award Winner / Illustrator Award Winner

  • Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir by Pedro Martín

Author Award Honor Books

  • Alebrijes, written by Donna Barba Higuera
  • Aniana del Mar Jumps In, written by Jasminne Mendez
  • Benita y las Criaturas Nocturnas, written by Mariana Llanos
  • Papá's Magical Water-Jug Clock, written by Jesús Trejo, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz
  • Something Like Home, written by Andrea Beatriz Arango

Illustrator Award Honor Books

  • Mi papá es un agrícola/My Father, the Farmworker, illustrated by José B. Ramírez, written by J. Roman Pérez Varela
  • Papá's Magical Water-Jug Clock, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz, written by Jesús Trejo
  • Remembering, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia, written by Xelena González

Young Adult Author Award Winner

  • Saints of the Household, written by Ari Tison

Honor Books

  • The Prince and the Coyote, written by David Bowles, illustrated by Amanda Mijangos
  • Worm: A Cuban American Odyssey, by Edel Rodriguez

Booklist: The Life and Legacy of Pura Belpré

The Stories I Read to the ChildrenMeet Pura Belpré in these books by and about her!  These books include stories by her, picture book biographies of her, historical accounts of her contributions to librarianship, and collections in which she is featured among groups of notable Latinos/Latinas who helped shape the United States.

Interviews with Lucía González, Lulu Delacre, and Meg Medina

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, Lulu, and Meg are available in our Meet the Authors section.