2016 Pura Belpré Award Recipients

2016-08-24-Pura-BelpreSaludos, todos! After having shared with you this year’s Américas Award and Tomás Rivera Award recipients, we would like to conclude the week by sharing with you the books that won the 2016 Pura Belpré Award, one of the most well-known and prestigious awards for Latinx children’s literature.

As explained by the Association for Library Service to Children,

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.

We often feature and highlight Pura Belpre award winners on our blog, for our shared mission in diversifying children’s literature and honoring Latinx  authors and illustrators. Keep your eyes peeled for my September ¡Mira, Look! book reviews, which will focus on a theme of Pura Belpré award winners. Here we will provide you with a cursory summary of the books to pique your interest, but my upcoming reviews will go more in depth, providing  detailed and expanded commentary and  resources for using these stellar books in the classroom.

We would also like to acknowledge the members of the 2016 Pura Belpré Award Committee: Chair Ana-Elba Pavon, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library; Sylvia Cecilia Aguiñaga, San Jose (Calif.) State University; Pat Bashir, Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library; Maria F. Estrella, Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library; Maria C. Mena, Newport News (Va.) Public Library System; Teresa Mlawer, West Orange, N.J.; and Abigail Morales, San Diego (Calif.) County Library.

Happy reading and stay tuned for my September ¡Mira, Look! book reviews featuring the 2016 Pura Belpré award winners!

Alice

 

2016 Award Winners

2016 Author Award Winner

enchanted airEnchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, written by Margarita Engle and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not.

Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?

 

2016 Illustrator Award Winner

drum dream girlDrum Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

 

2016 Author Honor Books

smoking mirrorThe Smoking Mirror, written by David Bowles and published by IFWG Publishing, Inc.

Carol and Johnny Garza are 12-year-old twins whose lives in a small Texas town are forever changed by their mother’s unexplained disappearance. Shipped off to relatives in Mexico by their grieving father, the twins soon learn that their mother is a nagual, a shapeshifter, and that they have inherited her powers. In order to rescue her, they will have to descend into the Aztec underworld and face the dangers that await them.

 

mango abuela and meMango, Abuela, and Me, written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez and published by Candlewick Press.

Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English (“Dough. Masa”), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfectoidea for how to help them all communicate a little better. An endearing tale from an award-winning duo that speaks loud and clear about learning new things and the love that bonds family members.

 

2016 Illustrator Honor Books

my tatas remediesMy Tata’s Remedies/ Los remedios de mi tata, illustrated by Antonio Castro L., written by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford and published by Cinco Puntos Press.

Aaron has asked his grandfather Tata to teach him about the healing remedies he uses. Tata is a neighbor and family elder. People come to him all the time for his soothing solutions and for his compassionate touch and gentle wisdom. Tata knows how to use herbs, teas, and plants to help each one. His wife, Grandmother Nana, is there too, bringing delicious food and humor to help Tata’s patients heal. An herbal remedies glossary at the end of the book includes useful information about each plant, plus botanically correct drawings.

 

mango abuela and meMango, Abuela, and Me, written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez and published by Candlewick Press.

Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English (“Dough. Masa”), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfect idea for how to help them all communicate a little better. An endearing tale from an award-winning duo that speaks loud and clear about learning new things and the love that bonds family members.

 

funny bonesFunny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

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