Yuyi Morales on winning the Pura Belpré Award...
A Pura Belpré award is un regalo, a gift you get one morning when you are preparing your son’s breakfast before school, and the telephone rings. Gifts like this are given on a chilly January morning, even though it is not your birthday, Christmas is past, and there is a long ways before mother’s day. You answer the telephone, and before you can say anything more than, “Yes, this is she,” the regalo is given to you.
It sounds something like this: “The Pura Belpré Committee is happy to announce that you are the recipient of the Pura Belpré Award for the illustrations in your book …” This is when your mind goes blank. A few seconds later you will be unable to report which book of yours won the award. And, what did they say they gave it to you for? Did they say you won the Medal or the Honor? Regalos like the Pura Belpré Award shake your morning like a firecracker on Cinco de Mayo!
The regalo is extraordinary. You laugh with your husband and your child. You hug. You kiss. You remember your son should be at school now! You take him by the hand and run, until you deliver him to his class with his hair undone, his lunch missing, and his trumpet left at home. Celebrations are just like that!
The best is that this regalo doesn’t end there. It grows as children and adults, encouraged by the prestige of the Pura Belpré seal, open your book, read, see, and connect with your work.
The Pura Belpré Award is also joyful. Just come one day to the award ceremony, see the colorful decorations, take a look at the pages of the winning books, tap your feet to the rhythm of the salsa dancers, listen to the speakers, and then, at the end, when everybody at the podium and in the audience are holding hands and singing together, you will know that every time a Pura Belpré Medal is awarded, the regalo is given to all.
Yuyi Morales is the 2004 Belpré Medal winner for the illustration of
Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book,
and the 2004 Belpré Honor winner for the illustration of
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez.