Pura Belpré Award Books for Summer Reading

Girl reading on hammock.
Girl reading on hammock.

Summer Learning is here and we at San Mateo County Libraries would like to help you grow your Summer Reading List!

San Mateo County Libraries, along with the Peninsula Library System, offers our patrons many award winning children and adult titles. Some awards are more well known than others. Everyone has heard of the Newbery Award for children's literature but have you ever heard of the Pura Belpré Award? If you have not, get your pen ready to jot down this year's winning titles who have won this often little known, but vitally important award among latino/a literature for children.

Photo of Pura Belré. Source: Reforma
Photo of Pura Belré. Source: Reforma

However before listing this year's winners, a little history about the origins of this award! Pura Belpré was the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. Born at the turn of the century in Puerto Rico, Belpré began at the New York Public Library in 1921 doing outreach to Spanish speaking communities. She was not only a pioneer in providing library services to the Spanish speakers of New York, but she was also an advocate for diversifying library programs and collections. Throughout her active years as a librarian Belpré provided bilingual storytimes, added Spanish language materials to the NYPL, as well as became an advocate for the preservation of traditional Puerto Rican folklore by collecting these stories, translating them into English, and then publishing them as children's materials.

In recognition of her work, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA) established the Pura Belpré Award in 1996. Given annually since 2009, the Pura Belpré Award "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" (Source: American Library Association).

Summer Learning runs from June 1st - August 31st. There is no better way to honor the legacy of Pura Belpré than by adding these award winning books to your reading list and spreading the word of her impact among all the readers in your life.

2017 Author Winner

Juana & Lucas

2017 Illustrator Winner

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth

2017 Honor Author Recipient

The Only Road (Book)

The Only Road (eBook)

2017 Honor Illustrator Recipient

Esquivel! (Book)

¡Esquivel! (Spanish Book)

¡Esquivel! (Spanish eBook)

2017 Honor Illustrator Recipient

The Princess and the Warrior (Book)

The Princess and the Warrior (eBook)

The Princess and the Warrior (Streaming video through Hoopla)

San Mateo County Libraries, along with the Peninsula Library System, also carries many of the books written by Pura Belpré, such as:

Firefly Summer

You can check out the full list here.

Would like to see past award winners? You can see all the past recipients by checking out:

The Pura Belpré Award 1996-2016

Have you read any any of the award winners? Let us know which one was your favorite in the comments below!

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