For week two of my award winning and honor books challenge, I decided to focus on The Pura Belpré award.
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.
I really appreciated how this book compared life for a young Latin American boy in a U.S. city and in Mexico -neither is better than the other or worse than the other, just different. Family is always an important subject in Latino culture and that was definitely featured in this book as well. I also found it interesting the way that Duncan Tonatiuh used real images and patterns pasted into his illustrations for a collage-feel.
This book employs a little imagination to tell about a symbol of Latina culture. A rebozo is a traditional Mexican woven shawl with many uses – both practical and fantastical.
First Day in Grapes describes a common life for a young boy in Latin American culture in which the family moves around depending on the harvesting season. Being the new kid is hard, especially if you don’t speak the same language or share the same culture, but Chico has a special talent that he uses to gain confidence as the new kid and to make third grade his best year yet.
This was one of the cutest folktales I have ever read. This story is well known in Cuban culture (much like Little Red Riding Hood is to us) and teaches the lesson that your beauty is not what truly matters, but how one handles your flaws -such as spilling hot coffee on your shoes.
This was my favorite book in this category because it gives a great account of Pura Belpré and some what she did for Latin American youth and literature. This story emphasizes a sense of belonging and community. I also liked how the story was translated in both spanish and english on each page so everyone can read the book together and understand the effect that Pura Belpré and others like her had on all of our lives.