About the The Pura Belpré Award
The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer or illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It was named after Pura Belpré (1899-1982), the first Latina librarian to be hired by the New York Public Library in 1921. She was known as a revolutionary- using an innovative blend of folklore and outreach to engage the predominantly Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican children in her area. Through her story times, her puppeteering, and her written works, Belpré set a high standard for how libraries should tailor their programs and services for the communities and peoples in which they're located. Her commitment and advocacy to bridge her Puerto Rican community to the library, and vice versa, showcases the roots of critical children's librarianship and inclusion, and not assimilation, of marginalized voices into the field
We continue to honor Pura Belpré's legacy by incorporating her principles and values into our own work and by advocating for more inclusive collections at libraries around the state. Every year since 2015, the REFORMA Oregon Round Table of OLA hosts the Mock Pura Belpré Award. This is a great opportunity for library staff, who work with Latino and/or Spanish-speaking children, to take part in discussions surrounding that year's selection of titles and the Pura Belpré Awards criteria. Why do we do this? It's simple: to raise awareness to the importance of more quality children's literature written and/or illustrated by Latino authors. So that when the children of our communities walk into our libraries, they find themselves represented in the stories they read.
Each year we also feature a local or national Latino/a author or illustrator in our day-long event, and this year we have the honor of hosting Zeke Peña, illustrator of the Mi Papi tiene una moto/My Papi Has a Motorcycle. Zeke received a 2020 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor for his work in this book, and was the winner of The Mock Pura Belpre Illustrator Award at our event last year. This year we are opening this presentation to the larger community in the hopes of continuing the work of raising awareness about the importance of these books, and hopefully also contribute to the aim of making Latinx kids feel represented. Join us via YouTube or Facebook Live for this wonderful presentation at 1pm on Thursday, October 22.
If you are curious about the award criteria, visit the Pura Belpré Award website.