and ALA showcase Pura Belpré book award winners


Mark Gould,


ALA Public Information Office

(312) 280-5042


For Immediate Release,

March 17, 2009

CHICAGO - The Pura Belpré book awards, which are named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library, are being highlighted on The awards are presented annually 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.

The 2009 award winners are currently featured on
Thinkfinity @ your library, a collection of resources featuring librarian specific content from ALA. is the Verizon Foundation’s comprehensive program and online portal to 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided in partnership with many of the nation’s leading educational and literacy organizations. Content for is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation’s leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy.

The 2009 Belpré awards, which were announced in January during the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, will be presented to Margarita Engle, author of “The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom” (Henry Holt, 2008) and Yuyi Morales, illustrator of “Just in Case” (a Neal Porter Book published by Roaring Brook Press, 2008), at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago in July. Several Honor Books were also named; the complete list is available at

Pura Belpré was a children's librarian, storyteller and author. During her tenure at the New York Public Library from the 1920s through the 1970s, she enriched the lives of Puerto Rican children in the U.S.A. through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore. She was also an author in her own right, publishing such works as “Pérez and Martina: A Portorican Folk Tale” (Warne, 1932; Viking, 1961), “The Tiger and the Rabbit and Other Tales” (Lippincott, 1965), and “The Rainbow Colored Horse” (Warne, 1978).

The awards are co-sponsored by the
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the
American Library Association (ALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (
REFORMA), an ALA affiliate.