Pura Belpré Award

About the Pura Belpré Award
The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented 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.

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

The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. As a children's librarian, storyteller, and author, she enriched the lives of Puerto Rican children in the U.S.A. through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.

It is now an annual award.  It was a biennial award from its inaugural year in 1996 through 2008. 

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Illustrator Award

2018 Winner(s)

La Princesa and the Pea

illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal and written by Susan Middleton Elya and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

“La Princesa and the Pea” is a tale set amid guinea pigs, stone arches, and fuzzy indigenous Peruvian textiles. Juana Martinez-Neal’s mischievous characters play out the classic princess-and-the-pea tale—with a twist. Cultural elements inspired by the Peruvian village of Huilloc and the Colca Canyon add vibrancy and playfulness in Martinez-Neal’s acrylic and colored pencil illustrations.


2018 Honor(s)

All Around Us
illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia, written by Xelena González and published by Cinco Puntos Press

The cycle of life is explored through the eyes of a grandfather and his granddaughter, in the Mestizo tradition. Vivid digital images use colorful contours and vibrant color to depict visible and invisible circles in everyday life.


Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos
illustrated by John Parra, written by Monica Brown and published by NorthSouth Books, Inc., an imprint of NordSüd Verlag AG

The connections between Frida Kahlo and her xoloitzcuintles, monkeys, turkeys, and other pets are palpable in John Parra’s warm, expressive acrylic illustrations. Details of Mexican folk art ground the story as facial and body expressions from Frida and animalitos reinforce their relationship, showing how Frida was comforted and inspired by her pets and how her personality was shaped by and reflected in them.


Author Award

2018 Winner(s)

Lucky Broken Girl

written by Ruth Behar and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

In “Lucky Broken Girl,” fifth-grader Ruthie Mizrahi, newly arrived to the United States from Cuba in the 1960’s, is confined to a full-body cast after a life-changing accident. Surrounded by her Cuban-Jewish family and a diverse group of neighbors, Ruthie finds strength and courage to heal and grow. The book was published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


2018 Honor(s)

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
written by Pablo Cartaya, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

In “The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora,” Arturo spends the summer working at his beloved Abuela’s Cuban restaurant in a Miami neighborhood. When Arturo learns of a greedy land developer’s plans to tear down the building, he enlists the help of his friends to save the restaurant. This humorous coming-of-age tale celebrates family, music and poetry, and embraces failure as a springboard to growth.


The First Rule of Punk
written by Celia C. Pérez, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

12-year-old Malú O’Neill-Morales is biracial, Latinx, and punk. Tasked with being a “señorita,” she instead follows the first rule of punk: “Be Yourself.” Malú creates zines about her inner thoughts while navigating a new school where she’s not seen as Latinx enough, starting a punk band along the way.