The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. 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) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions 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.
Efrén Divided, written by Ernesto Cisneros and published by Quill Tree, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Efrén Divided brings us the story of twelve-year-old Efrén, whose world flips when his mother is deported to Mexico, but whose determination to reunite his family never wavers. Ernesto Cisneros’s debut novel adeptly balances hope and heart break in this timely story of undocumented individuals working to build a better life.
“The story of Efrén Nava is Ernesto Cisneros’s enduring ode to children of immigrant parents, whose quiet strength and resilience is laudable and inspiring,” said Agudelo.
2021 Children's Author Honor Books
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, written by Adrianna Cuevas and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group.
Army kid Nestor Lopez knows the drill: new deployment, new town, don't settle in, no real friends. But his new posting has a mystery: animals are disappearing and afraid (they told him themselves), and Abuela is acting suspicious. To rescue the town, Nestor may have to break his own rules.
Lupe Wong Won’t Dance, written by Donna Barba Higuera and published by Levine Querido.
Lupe Wong never imagined a goofy dance could hamstring her chance to meet her pitching idol and fellow Mexinese/Chinacan, Fu Li Hernandez. But taking up the cause against square dancing in gym class proves to be more challenging, and enlightening, than this opinionated dreamer expected
¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat, illustrated and written by Raúl Gonzalez, and published by Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat follows Little Lobo and his pet sidekick Bernabé on a savory adventure, fetching lunch for Toro y sus amigos ahead of the Lucha Libre 5000. Each food truck stop highlights diverse and delectable cuisine, and is flavored with cultural references and a vibrant community of food vendors.
“Raúl the Third’s ink illustrations burst off the page with color and lively detail, making Little Lobo’s delectable mission irresistible,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Jessica Agudelo.
2021 Youth Illustrator Honor Books
Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, written by Monica Brown, and published by Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc.
This bilingual biography traces the life of Julio C. Tello, from a young curious boy nicknamed “Sharuko” in Quechua, to his career as an accomplished archaeologist who elevated Peru’s indigenous history. Elements of Peruvian culture and landscape are captured in Chavarri’s splendid watercolor and gouache illustrations.
Furia, written by Yamile Saied Méndez and published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
Furia brings us a story about Camila “La Furia” Hassan, a young Argentine girl and fútbol player with monumental talent. Living in a household that considers fútbol a boys’ sport and a society fighting for gender equality, Camila goes against all odds to follow her dreams and her heart.
“Yamile Saied Méndez’s irrepressible protagonist, Camila, is empowered by her passion for fútbol and inspired by the resilience and strength in the women around her,” said Agudelo.
2021 Young Adult Author Honor Books
Never Look Back, written by Lilliam Rivera and published by Bloomsbury YA.
In Never Look Back, Lilliam Rivera depicts the diverse culture of the Bronx and its people through the nascent romance of Eury and Pheus. This retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice evokes the smooth sounds of bachata, joys of Caribbean heritage, and the trauma caused by grief and loss.
We Are Not from Here, written by Jenny Torres Sanchez and published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
We Are Not from Here is a compelling and realistic story of teenage friends, Pulga, Pequeña and Chico, forced to leave their homes in Guatemala and embark upon a dangerous and uncertain journey to the U.S. hoping for safety. An eye-opening and timely read.
Members of the 2021 Pura Belpré Award Selection Committee are: Chair Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library, Queens, New York; Martín Blasco, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, Oregon; Mara Cota, San Diego State University, San Diego, California; Priscilla K. Delgado, TeachingBooks.net, San Marcos, Texas; Rosa Diaz, Rochester City School District, Rochester, New York; Elisa Anais Garcia, New York Public Library, Bronx, New York; Rebecca M. King, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, Illinois.