Welcome to the Pura Belpré Award home page!

pura belpre medal

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), 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. 

2019 Author Award Winner  

Book cover: The Poet XThe Poet X, written by Elizabeth Acevedo and published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

The Poet X is a tale about Xiomara, an “unhide-able” Dominican who “…was a little too much body for such a young girl,” according to Mami. As she deals with her extremely religious mother and other challenges, Xiomara writes poetry, which becomes “the most freeing experience of [her] life.” The book was published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 

“Acevedo’s strong character and her captivating story, told through intense and lyrical verses, champion poetry as a way to understand the world and one’s self,” said Dr. Caponegro. 

2019 Illustrator Award Winner

Book cover: DreamersDreamers, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Yuyi Morales, and published by Neal Porter Books, Holiday House Publishing, Inc.

Dreamers is a tale about an immigrant mother and her son who were “[u]nable to understand and afraid to speak…” until they found the library. The books in the library taught them many things and gave them the confidence they needed to succeed and dream in their new country. The book was written by Yuyi Morales and published by Neal Porter Books, Holiday House Publishing, Inc. 

“Morales’s stunning mixed media illustrations celebrate the power of children’s books and libraries and the ability of immigrants to create new lives and stories,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Dr. Ramona Caponegro.  


2019 Author Honor Book

Book cover: They Call Me GueroThey Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems, written by David Bowles, and published by Cinco Puntos Press
They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems is a tale about a 12-year-old, red-headed, freckled Mexican-American boy’s daily adventures. Through poetry, Bowles chronicles Güero’s middle school journey as he deals with bullies, girls, and the perils of being a misfit. Life can be tough for a pale-skinned border kid, but Güero learns to cope by embracing rich family traditions.  

2019 Illustrator Honor Books

IBook cover: Islandbornslandborn, illustrated by Leo Espinosa, written by Junot Díaz, and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Islandborn is a tale about Lola, a young immigrant Afro-Latina girl who has to draw a picture of her birth country for school but doesn’t remember that place. Espinosa takes us on a vibrant, colorful journey as Lola discovers the island through the memories of her family and friends. 

Book cover: When Angels SingWhen Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana, illustrated by Jose Ramirez, written by Michael Mahin, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana is a tale about the famous musician's quest to discover his unique musical sound. Santana's exploration is beautifully depicted with bold colors and striking illustrations that reflect his Latinx roots.

Members of the 2019 Pura Belpré Award Selection Committee are: Chair Dr. Ramona Caponegro, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich.; Anna Maria Avalos, Los Angeles Public Library Central Library; René Bue, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, Wis.; Josefa Bustos Pelayo, Jefferson Charter Academy, Hanford, Calif. and California State University, Fresno, Calif.; Evan Michael Bush, Athens-Clarke County Library, Athens, Ga.; Elizabeth Anne Negrete Gaylor, Ardmore (Okla.) Public Library; and Patricia Cortez Valdovinos, Los Angeles Public Library. 

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