2017 Pura Belpré Award Recipients

¡Buenos días a todos y todas! Last week we announced the 2017 Américas Award recipients, and today I will continue highlighting Latinx children’s and young adult literature with the 2017 Pura Belpré Award Winners. The Pura Belpré Award is named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. Like the Américas Award, it is an award which we regard highly within the world of Latin American/Latinx children’s and young adult literature.

According to the Association for Library Service to Children website, 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.

Below you will find the 2017 Author Award Winner, Illustrator Award Winner, Author Honor Book and the Illustrator Honor books. The 2017 Pura Belpré selection committee included Chair Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library; Marissa Alcorta, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Ariz.; Laura Duncan, Oxnard Public Library, Oxnard, Calif.; Cyndi Giorgis, University of Texas at El Paso; Linda M. Pavonetti, Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.; Lettycia Terrones, Los Angeles Public Library; and Junko Yokota, Center for Teaching through Children’s Books, Skokie, Ill.

Stay tuned for Mira, Look! posts featuring these books among others. Also, we highly recommend visiting the award website to see a list of previous medal winners. We hope these books will make it to your classrooms! Also, stay tuned for a post about the Tomás Rivera Book Award recipients next week!




Author Award Winner

Juana & Lucas written and illustrated by Juana Medina. Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-0763672089

Juana & Lucas presents with breezy humor the day-to-day reflections and experiences universal to childhood—school, family and friendships—through the eyes of the invincible Juana, growing up in Bogotá with her beloved dog, Lucas. This charmingly designed book for young readers portrays the advantages—and challenges—of learning a second language.

“Juana’s transformation from frustrated learner to enthusiastic speaker of ‘the English’ is portrayed with authenticity and plenty of appeal,” said Mitnick.



Illustrator Award Winner

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez, written by Cathy Camper. Chronicle Books LLC, 2016. ISBN: 978-1452123431

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth follows Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack and Elirio Malaria, as they lowride into an epic quest to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec god of the Underworld. The ballpoint pen art creates a fantastical borderlands odyssey, packed with subversively playful cultural references that affirm a vibrant Chicanx cultura.

“Raúl Gonzalez’s energetic ballpoint pen drawings portray a complex mash-up of cultures with humor and verve,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Eva Mitnick.



Author Honor Book

The Only Road written by Alexandra Diaz. Simon & Schuster, 2016. ISBN: 978-1481457507

Jaime and his cousin Ángela undertake the arduous journey to the North after a gang in Guatemala threatens their family. Diaz portrays with empathy the dangers, decisions and regrets faced by unaccompanied minors as they migrate in search of refuge.






Illustrator Honor Books

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, written by Susan Wood. Charlesbridge, 2016.

Duncan Tonatiuh creates a sense of sound and movement through energetic, textured collage illustrations that celebrate the life of innovative Mexican musician and composer Juan García Esquivel. Incorporating funky fonts and far-out fashions, Tonatiuh’s unique artistic style harkens back to indigenous codex art and lends cultural authenticity to this pulsating picture-book biography.



The Princess and the Warrior illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016. ISBN: 978-1419721304

The legend of Mexico’s mythic volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, unfolds in this exquisite version of an ancient love story. The stylized codex-inspired art renews and reinterprets the tradition of Aztec flor y canto using a palette of earth tones and celestial blues to illuminate this artistic retelling.


2 thoughts on “2017 Pura Belpré Award Recipients

  1. Pingback: Tomás Rivera Book Award Recipients | Vamos a Leer

  2. Pingback: ¡Mira, Look!: The Princess and the Warrior | Vamos a Leer

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