ALA, ALSC announce Scholastic contribution to Pura Belpré award endowment

Contacts: Larra Clark

ALA Media Relations

Rachel Cruz


For Immediate Release

June 24, 2005

ALA, ALSC announce Scholastic contribution to Pura Belpré award endowment

Company pledges additional three years of support to help ALA honor Latino writers

CHICAGO- The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and Scholastic are very pleased to announce Scholastic’s expanded support of the Pura Belpré Award. Scholastic announced its initial sponsorship of the award at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January 2005. The company made an additional contribution at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 23-29, 2005, as part of a broader three-year commitment to help build the endowment.

ala, alsc announce scholastic contribution to pura belpré award endowment
Scholastic, the global children’s publishing and media company, plans to cultivate awareness of the Belpré Award by developing a special promotional video about the award, courtesy of Scholastic’s Weston Woods division, which will debut at the 2006 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio. Pam Muñoz Ryan, the 2002 Belpré Medal-winning author of “Esperanza Rising,” will appear in the video as part of her role as a celebrity spokesperson for the Pura Belpré Award.

“While it is essential that young readers have access to stories with which they can identify, and recognize their own unique culture, it is equally important that children in general have exposure to books that reflect a range of cultures and perspectives,” said Pam Muñoz Ryan. “The Pura Belpré Award is significant because it endorses important culturally relevant works by some of today’s foremost Latino authors.”

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. ALSC and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), an ALA affiliate, co-sponsor the award.

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

“ALSC is very grateful to Scholastic for its significant contribution to the Belpré Award Endowment,” said ALSC President Gretchen Wronka. “We look forward to working with Scholastic into the future.”

Scholastic is committed to working with ALA to champion Latino literary works that speak to the hearts and minds of Hispanic readers, and to addressing the growing need for quality books that reflect the Hispanic experience.

“As publishers with a long tradition of encouraging all children to learn to read and read to learn, we are enthusiastic patrons of the Pura Belpré Award,” said Teresa Mlawer, president, Lectorum Publications. “Our support of this prestigious prize speaks to our continued commitment to reaching out to the Hispanic community with relevant, inspiring stories told in an authentic Latino voice.”

The American Library Association (ALA) was founded in 1876 and has a total membership of more than 66,000 librarians. ALSC, founded in 1941, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of service to children in all types of libraries. Its membership totals more than 3,900 children’s librarians. For more information, visit

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. For more information, please visit