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Every Child Ready to Read
Dia de los ninos
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2008 Pura Belpré Award Winners

2008 ALSC Media Award Winners

For narrative:

Poet Slave book cover image The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano
written by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sean Qualls  (Holt)

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, a collection of haunting poems, uses multiple voices to illuminate the daily terror and hypocrisy of the slave system. Celebrating Manzano's irrepressible spirit and creativity, this book is based on Manzano's autobiographical notes and poems. After witnessing young Manzano's harsh punishments for reading and writing, readers will marvel at his enduring strength and persistence to attain freedom.

The Poet Slave of Cuba is a heartbreaking, memorable story of love, determination and hope. The stark language and vivid imagery provide a sensory experience that allows the reader to enter another time and place,” said Hatfield.

For illustration:

Los Gatos book cover imageLos Gatos Black on Halloween, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Marisa Montes (Holt)

“A rhyming text describes spooky monsters of many types gathering for a ball in Los Gatos Black on Halloween. However, the rollicking fun is interrupted by the scariest creatures of all in a surprise ending that will delight readers of all ages. Morales' eerily glowing illustrations capture the blend of traditional Halloween and Día de los Muertos symbols, matching the humorous interplay of Spanish and English in the text. Historical allusions and whimsical figures delight the eye in this timeless story,” said Award Committee Chair Jean Hatfield.

Read Yuyi Morales' quote about winning the 2004 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.

Honor Books

For narrative:

Frida book cover image


Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life! written and illustrated Carmen T. Bernier-Grand (Marshall Cavendish)

Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life! uses lyrical free-verse poems which comprise the heart of a well rounded biographical work for older children. The poems, written in impassioned first-person voice, follow the arc of Frida Kahlo's life from birth to death. The opening birth poem and the closing death poem set a tone of self-determination firmly placing her in history, in her family and in her country.

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach book cover image


Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael Austin (Peachtree)

Martina is 21 days old and ready to give her leg in marriage. With the help of her Abuela's shocking advice, she interviews a cast of unlikely suitors to find her true love. Deedy's lively and humorous retelling of this classic Latino folktale sparkles with wit as well as aspects of the Cuban culture.

Los Gatos book cover image


Los Gatos Black on Halloween , written by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Holt)

From brujas on broomsticks to clattering esqueletos the rhyming text of Los Gatos Black on Halloween, captures a spooky mix of English and Spanish in this humorous tale. The story integrates the traditions of two cultures into a lively tale with a surprise twist that begs to be read aloud and shared with audiences of all ages and cultures.

For illustration:

Gabito book cover image


My Name is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo Gabito: la vida de Gabriel García Márquez, illustrated by Raúl Colón, written by Monica Brown (Luna Rising)

Raúl Colón's evocative, tropical illustrations pull the eye into Gabriel García Márquez's imaginative world, introducing children to the early life of this celebrated Colombian author in My Name is Gabito.

My Colors, My World book cover image


My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo, written and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez (Children's Book Press)

My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo invites children to a visual feast of vibrant colors and magical realism as they follow young Maya on her journey from sand-covered surroundings to a world overflowing with rich violet and pink hues. Mayan culture and Kahlo-esque influences add electricity to the bold illustrations.




recommended reading
The currents winners of the ALSC Pura Belpré Medal.