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.
2016 Author Award Winner
Enchanted 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.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir brings us a memoir in free verse that conveys the story of growing up in two cultures during an era of great tension between the United States and Cuba. Poet Margarita Engle takes her young audience on a journey of longing. It is a story that touches on issues affecting numerous immigrant children today.
The book was published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
“Engle’s memoir of living in two cultures and the inability to cross the sky to visit family will resonate with youth facing similar circumstances,” said Pavon.
2016 Illustrator Award Winner
Drum Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Drum Dream Girl is a tale about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl in 1930s Cuba, who became a world-renowned drummer. Rafael López’s flawless and detailed illustrations in acrylic paint on wood are warm and vibrant; dynamic, double spread renderings bring to life Millo’s story.
“Rafael López’s masterful art brings to life the drumbeats in Margarita Engle’s story. His dreamy illustrations transport us to Millo’s tropical island,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Ana-Elba Pavon.
2016 Author Honor Books
The Smoking Mirror, written by David Bowles and published by IFWG Publishing, Inc.
A fantasy novel about 12-year-old twins growing into their magical, shape-shifting abilities, as they descend into the Land of the Dead to find their mother. Bowles creates an action-packed story based on Aztec and Mayan mythology while capturing the realities of life in contemporary South Texas and Mexico.
Mango, Abuela, and Me, written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez and published by Candlewick Press.
After Abuela moves in with her family, Mia finds a clever way to communicate with her Spanish-speaking grandmother who has left her homeland to live in the United States. Meg Medina blends Spanish and English to seamlessly create a touching tale of transition, love and the willingness to connect.
2016 Illustrator Honor Books
My 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.
My Tata’s Remedies = Los remedios de mi tata is an intergenerational story about how a grandfather (Tata) heals and cares for his family, friends and neighbors. From his Tata, Aaron learns first hand the significance of healing with a tender touch of wisdom and medicinal herbs. Expertly rendered, realistic images encompass diverse expression, movement and emotion.
Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez, written by Meg Medina and published by Candlewick Press.
Angela Dominguez’s digitally-enhanced, mixed media illustrations are warm and expressive. They recreate the tone of affection and caring that exists between a young girl and her abuela. Dominguez masterfully conveys the sadness of the abuela for her homeland and her transformation as she realizes that home is where your heart resides.
Funny 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.
This book about Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada teaches children about a forgotten art form and gives its audience a glimpse of Mexican history, through the digital hieroglyphic collages created by Duncan Tonatiuh and the colorful journey of lithography, engraving and etching of Posada’s designs.