Cultivating Latino Cultural Literacy

Pura Belpré Award-Winning Books in Library Programming for Teens and Tweens

By Jamie Campbell Naidoo

The following article appears in the Spring 2012 issue of Young Adult Library Services. Booklists and a full set of references can be found there.

Established in 1996 by the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Pura Belpré Award recognizes Latino authors and illustrators “whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” The award’s namesake, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library system, was dedicated to bringing rich stories imbued with Latino cultural elements to the children and youth that she served in barrios and ethnically diverse neighborhoods throughout the city from  the 1920s and 1930s and later in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2011, the Pura Belpré Award celebrated its quinceanera, marking fifteen years of works that carry on the mission first started by that energetic and visionary librarian so long ago.

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