Latino authors and illustrators honored for outstanding works in children’s literature

Untitled Document

Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen
ALA Public Information Office
Media Relations
312-280-4393 / 5043 /

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2009

Recipients of prestigious Pura Belpré Medal accept awards, sign winning books

CHICAGO – Hundreds will gather for an event that celebrates the most influential Latino authors and illustrators of children’s literature. The Pura Belpré Celebración will serve as a national backdrop for the presentation of the coveted Pura Belpré Medal, an award that recognizes Latino authors and illustrators of children’s literature. The event will take place from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 12, 2009 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, Continental Ballroom A/B, and is one of the many American Library Association (ALA) Annual conference events taking place from July 9 – 15. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Given annually, the Pura Belpré Medal is awarded to a Latino 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 award is known worldwide for the high quality it represents, and serves as a guideline for educators, parents and bookstores for the best of the best in Latino themed children’s literature.

The event will honor the following 2009 Belpré Medal winners and honorees:

  • Margarita Engle, author of “The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom,” published by Henry Holt.
  • Yuyi Morales, author and illustrator of “Just in Case: A Counting Book and Spanish Alphabet,” a Neal Porter Book published by Roaring Brook Press.
  • Francisco Jiménez, author of “Reaching Out,” published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Lucía González and Lulu Delacre, author and illustrator of “The Storyteller’s Candle/ La Velita de los Cuentos,” published by Children’s Book Press.
  • Rudy Guitierrez, illustrator of “Papa and Me,” written by Arthur Dorros, published by Rayo, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Amy Córdova, illustrator of “What Can You Do With a Rebozo?” written by Carmen Tafolla, published by Tricycle Press, an imprint of Ten Speed Press.
  • Oralia Garza de Cortés, co-founder of Pura Belpré Medal Award

Event highlights include a musical performance by students from Our Lady of Guadalupe Ballet Folklorico and participating authors will sign copies of their award-winning books. Celebración speakers will include 2009 Pura Belpré Medal recipients; Luis Chaparro, president, REFORMA; Pat Scales, president, ALSC; and Claudette McLinn, chair, 2009 Pura Belpré Medal Award Selection Committee.

The Pura Belpré Medal is named in honor of 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 Latino children through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore. The award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and co-sponsored by the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA).

For more information regarding the Pura Belpré Medal please visitémedal.

ALSC 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 Web site at

Founded in 1971, REFORMA is committed to promoting the development of library collections that include Spanish language and Latino oriented collections; advocating for library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; educating the Latino population of the availability of library resources; and the recruitment of bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff. For more information on REFORMA, visit