2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners and Honor Books

Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award and Honor BooksWe’ve now shared the 2015 winners of the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award. This week we wrap up our highlights by featuring the Pura Belpré Award.

As the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) writes,

The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is 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. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate. 

Much like the previous two awards, the Pura Belpré is one of our favorite means by which to identify stellar authors and illustrators. We highly recommend visiting the award website to see a list of previous medal winners. Without exception, they are remarkable books to add to your shelves!

Recognized Titles

In 2015, the award recognized the following titles. We share here the descriptions that the award provides.

2015 Author Award Winner

I Lived on Butterfly Hill written by Marjorie Agosín, illustrated by Lee White and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
 Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award and Honor Books | I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie AgosínWhen warships appear, in “I Lived on Butterfly Hill,” Celeste’s idyllic life is shattered. As people disappear, Celeste’s parents go into hiding, and she is sent into exile. When she returns home, she works to reunite people she loves and to move her country forward. Lyrically written by acclaimed poet, Marjorie Agosín, this Chilean story offers a refreshing perspective on resiliency. “With her poet’s eye, Marjorie Agosín gives this tale of exile and return an epic feel,” said Wadham. “Though she is a refugee, Celeste learns she belongs anywhere there are things she loves.”

2015 Illustrator Award Winner

Viva Frida illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales and published by Roaring Brook Press.

Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award and Honor Books | Viva Frida written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

“Viva Frida” uses rich, vibrant color photographs and minimal evocative text to beautifully portray the unique imagination and creativity of an iconic Latina artist. Morales blends a wide variety of mediums – stop-motion puppets, acrylic paints and digital manipulation – to create a whimsical picture book that will inspire your artistic sensibilities.“It’s Yuyi, what more can you say?” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Tim Wadham.  “Her multi-media illustrations take the reader on a journey straight into Frida Kahlo’s artist’s heart and creative soul.

2015 Author Honor Book

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes written by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raúl Colón and published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award Winner and Honor Books | Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Raúl Colón Juan Felipe Herrera celebrates the lives of 20 Hispanic people who up to now have been in the shadows to many despite their significant contributions to American society. These poignant biographical sketches succinctly present the essence of each hero’s life and legacy to the future generations of their culture.

2015 Illustrator Honor Books

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners and Honor Books| Separate is Never Equal by Duncan TonatiuhUsing his signature style of illustration, Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of the Mendez family’s struggle for equal education. His digitally enhanced illustrations and his use of period detail convey the historical setting, linking this landmark case against injustice to a long campaign for human rights.

Green Is a Chile Pepper illustrated by John Parra, written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners and Honor Books| Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by John ParraParra’s vibrant folk art is the perfect complement to the text. The images depict diverse characters of all ages. Parra’s wonderful illustrations portray many Hispanic cultural traditions. They have a sense of energy and liveliness, which gives a feeling of being at a fiesta celebrating colors and culture.

Little Roja Riding Hood written by Susan Middleton Elya and illustrated by Susan Guevara published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers.

Vamos a Leer | 2015 Pura Belpré Award Winner and Honor Books | Little Roja Riding Hood written by Susan Middleton Elya and illustrated by Susan GuevaraSusan Guevara’s illustrations are a visual treat full of suspense and humor adding a spin to the classic fairy tale. Her use of details, such as the three blind mice and the little duendes, and the texture of warm colors give readers glimpses into a contemporary Hispanic family.

Happy reading,
Keira

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