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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pura Belpre Winners Coming Soon!!!!

As most lovers of children's literature will know, this Monday will be the announcements of the year's award winning books, including the Caldecott, Newberry, Printz, Coretta Scott King, and (of course) Pura Belpré awards. 

The Pura Belpré award was established in 1996 by ALSC and REFORMA to honor Latino/a authors and illustrators for their outstanding works portraying Latinos in children's literature.  The award was initially given bi-yearly, but is now awareded yearly.  One award and three honors are given for work in both narration and illustration.  Past award winners and honor recipients include Pat Mora, Rudy Gutierrez, Yuyi Morales, Margarita Engle, Maya Cristina Gonzalez, and many others.

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a mock selection of these year's winners via a webinar lead by past committee member Jean Hatfield and sponsored by the Hearland Chapter of REFORMA.  This was great fun!  It was quite exciting to hear people from other places and experiences talk about some of the incredible works that have come out this year, as well as to learn more about how the committee itself works from someone who has actually had this experience.

One thing I know for certain, the real Pura Belpre committee has their work cut out for them this year!  It is wonderful to see how the demand for quality books that positively portray Latinos and Latino culture has grown, and how the publishing industry has responded.  The quality of books this year is impressive.  I'm sure there will be a lot of debate when it gets down to the wire!

Our predicted winners were Diego: Bigger than Life by Carmen T. Bernier for narrative, and My Abuelita by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales for illustration.  Visit the Heartland REFORMA's webpage to view a list of all the books we considered and listen to an archive of our discussion. 

Thanks again to Jean and to Heartland REFORMA for hosting this event and making it available online.  This was a lot of fun!

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