The Pura Belpre Award

The Pura Belpré Award is named in honor of the first Latina librarian from the New York Public Library. It is awarded biennially to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work captures the Latino cultural experience in a work for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Service to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, affiliated with the American Library Association.

enchanted air

2016 Author
Margarita Engle. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir

In this poetic memoir Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War. Her heart was 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 lived 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. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupted at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Engle's worlds collided in the worst way possible. Would she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?

drum dream girl

2016 Illustrator
Rafael López. The Drum Dream Girl​

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.

i lived on butterfly hill bookjacket

2015 Author
Marjorie Agosín. I Lived on Butterfly Hill ​

When her beloved country, Chile, is taken over by a militaristic, sadistic government, Celeste is sent to America for her safety and her parents must go into hiding before they "disappear."

viva frida bookjacket

2015 Illustrator
Yuyi Morales. Viva Frida ​

Via spare text, examines Kahlo's creative process.

2014 Author
Meg Medina. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Informed that a bully she does not know is determined to beat her up Latin American teen Piddy Sanchez struggles to learn more about the father she has never met, until the bully's gang forces her to confront more difficult challenges.

2014 Illustrator
Yuyi Morales. Niño Wrestles the World

Lucha Libre champion Niño has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, but when his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills.

2013 Author
Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

2013 Illustrator
David Diaz. Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert 

Shares the story of the mixed-race saint known for his healing miracles and advocacy of orphaned children, tracing his rise from slavery to becoming an esteemed member of the Dominican Order.

2012 Author
Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Under the Mesquite

Throughout her high school years, as her mother battles cancer, Lupita takes on more responsibility for her house and seven younger siblings, while finding refuge in acting and writing poetry.

2012 Illustrator
Duncan Tonatiuh. Diego Rivera: His World and Ours

An introduction to the life, career, and influence of the Mexican painter Diego Rivera.

2011 Author
Pam Munoz Ryan. The Dreamer

A fictionalized biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who grew up a painfully shy child, ridiculed by his overbearing father, but who became one of the most widely-read poets in the world.

2011 Illustrator
Eric Velasquez. Grandma's Gift

The author describes Christmas at his grandmother's apartment in Spanish Harlem the year she introduced him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Diego Velazquez's portrait of Juan de Pareja, which has had a profound and lasting effect on him.

2010 Author
Julia Alvarez. Return to Sender

After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.

2010 Illustrator
Rafael Lopez. Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day

Children read aloud in various settings to celebrate of El Día de los niños, or Children's Day, in this bilingual story. Includes facts about Mexico's annual celebration of children (April 30) and the book fiestas that are often included.

Author-Margarita Engle.  The Surrender Tree:  Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom  

Cuba has fought three wars for independence, and still she is not free. This history in verse creates a lyrical portrait of Cuba.

Illustrator-Yuyi Morales.  Just in Case:  A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book  

As Senor Calavera prepares for Grandma Beetle's birthday he finds an alphabetical assortment of unusual presents, but with the help of Zelmiro the Ghost, he finds the best gift of all.

Author-Margarita Engle. The Poet Slave of Cuba

Juan Francisco Manzano was born in 1797 into the household of wealthy slaveowners in Cuba. He spent his early years at the side of his owner's wife, entertaining her friends. His poetry was his outlet, reflecting the beauty and cruelty of his world. Written in verse.

Illustrator-Yuyi Morales with text by Marisa Montes.  Los Gatos Black on Halloween   

Easy to read, rhyming text about Halloween night incorporates Spanish words, from las brujas riding their broomsticks to los monstruos whose monstrous ball is interrupted by a true horror.

Author-Viola Canales.  Tequila Worm

Sofia grows up in the close-knit community of the barrio in McAllen, Texas, then finds that her experiences as a scholarship student at an Episcopal boarding school in Austin only strengthen her ties to family and her "comadres."


Illustrator-Raul Colon with text by Pat Mora.  Dona Flor:  A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman With a Great Big Heart  

Doña Flor, a giant lady with a big heart, sets off to protect her neighbors from what they think is a dangerous animal, but soon discovers the tiny secret behind the huge noise.

Author-Julia Alvarez.  Before We Were Free

In the early 1960s in the Dominican Republic, twelve-year-old Anita learns that her family is involved in the underground movement to end the bloody rule of the dictator, General Trujillo.

Illustrator-Yuyi Morales.  Just a Minute:  A Trickster Tale and Counting Book  

This bilingual English-Spanish counting book reveals Mexican traditions sure to be adored by kids everywhere.

Author - Pam Munoz Ryan. Esperanza Rising

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Illustrator - Susan Guevara with text by Gary Soto. Chato and the Party Animals  

Chato decides to throw a "pachanga" for his friend Novio Boy, who has never had a birthday party, but when it is time to party, Novio Boy cannot be found.

Author - Alma Flor Ada. Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba

The author recalls her life and impressions growing up in Cuba.

Illustrator - Carmen Lomas Garza. Magic Windows

In English and Spanish, Carmen Lomas Garza portrays her family's Mexican customs through cut-paper work.

Author - Victor Martinez. Parrot in the Oven: mi vida

Manny relates his coming of age experiences as a member of a poor Mexican American family in which the alcoholic father only adds to everyone's struggle.

Illustrator - Stephanie Garcia with text by Gary Soto Snapshots from the Wedding  

Maya, the flower girl, describes a Mexican American wedding through snapshots of the day's events, beginning with the procession to the altar and ending with her sleeping after the dance.

Author - Judith Ortiz Cofer. An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio

Twelve stories about young people caught between their Puerto Rican heritage and their American surroundings.

Illustrator - Gary Soto. Baseball in April, and Other Stories

A collection of eleven short stories focusing on the everyday adventures of Hispanic young people growing up in Fresno, California.