For immediate release | May 31, 2011

Pura Belpré Award celebrates 15th anniversary with "Quinces" celebración at Annual Conference

CHICAGO - The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking) will hold a gala of the Quinces for the Pura Belpré Award this year at ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans to celebrate the award's 15th anniversary. The event will take place from 1-4 p.m., on Sunday, June 26, at the Morial Convention Center. The event is free of charge and all conference attendees are welcome to attend.

The Quinceañera Celebración will feature the 2011 medal and honor winning Belpré authors and illustrators. Also on hand will be the madrinas and padrinos (godparents of the award) in a unique coming-of-age ceremony. The 2011 Medal winners will be honored and will be there to receive recognition and make remarks.

“This year’s celebration represents a significant high point in the history of the award particularly as it reaches its own coming of age," said REFORMA president Lucia González.

The Pura Belpré (Author) Award honors a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. The 2011 Belpré Author Award winner is “The Dreamer,” written by Pam Muñoz Ryan. The book is illustrated by Peter Sís and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Three Belpré Author Honor Books were named: “¡Olé! Flamenco,” written and illustrated by George Ancona and published by Lee & Low Books Inc.; “The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba,” written by Margarita Engle and published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; and “90 Miles to Havana,” written by Enrique Flores-Galbis and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honors a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. “Grandma’s Gift,” illustrated and written by Eric Velasquez, is the 2011 Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book is published by Walker Publishing Company, Inc., a division of Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc. Three Belpré Illustrator Honor Books for illustration were selected: “Fiesta Babies,” illustrated by Amy Córdova, written by Carmen Tafolla and published by Tricycle Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.; “Me, Frida,” illustrated by David Diaz, written by Amy Novesky and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS; “Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Pura Belpré Award-winning titles are highly recommended for use by librarians, educators and parents who work with Latino children. In 2009, 22.5 percent of children 17 years of age or younger were Hispanic, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (

“It is important to ALSC and REFORMA to meet the needs of these children by encouraging the production of high-quality Hispanic children’s books and supporting Hispanic authors and illustrators,” said Oralia Garza de Cortes, a co-founder of the Belpré Award and honorary co-chair for the Quince Celebración.

Delicious food, music and dance will also be part of the Celebraciòn. For more information please visit

ALSC, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,200 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at

Established in 1971 as an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA promotes the development of library collections and library services and programs to meet the needs of the Latino community.