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.

2023 Pura Belpré Winners

See the list of all of the 2023 ALA Youth Media Award winners.

Author Award Winner

  • Frizzy, written by Claribel A. Ortega, illustrated by Rose Bousamra

Honor Books

  • The Coquíes Still Sing, written by Karina Nicole González, illustrated by Krystal Quiles
  • The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border, written by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora
  • Tumble, written by Celia C. Pérez and published by Kokila

Young Adult Award Winner

  • Burn Down, Rise Up, written by Vincent Tirado

Honor Books

  • Breathe and Count Back from Ten, written by Natalia Sylvester
  • High Spirits, written by Camille Gomera-Tavarez
  • The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, written by Sonora Reyes

Illustrator Award Winner

  • Where Wonder Grows, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia, written by Xelena González

Honor Books

  • The Coquíes Still Sing, illustrated by Krystal Quiles, written by Karina Nicole González
  • A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexihcah Word Painters, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Magic: Once Upon a Faraway Land, illustrated and written by Mirelle Ortega
  • Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, illustrated by Loris Lora, written by Anika Aldamuy Denise
  • Srta. Quinces, illustrated and written by Kat Fajardo
  • Still Dreaming / Seguimos soñando, illustrated by Magdalena Mora, written by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez

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.