The 20th Anniversary celebration of the Pura Belpré Award is coming up in about a week and a half. I had hoped to be there, but plans changed. Instead I will be following the festivities from home on Twitter. I’m sure it will be an exciting time for those able to attend. Here’s a brief video about the event.
Leading up to the celebration, Latinx in Kid Lit has had many fabulous posts highlighting past recipients of the award. Following their lead, we’ve been taking a look at the YA winners and honor books. In addition, we have one other Pura Belpré post over on Tumblr.
There have been many amazing books that have won the award or have been honored. Here are a few of my favorites.
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall:
This is a verse novel with an autobiographical quality to it that McCall explains in this post at Lee & Low. It’s a beautiful story of a Mexican American family maintaining hope through difficult times.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Jessica reviewed this powerful book in 2013. If you haven’t yet read it, you will want to grab it immediately. It is unforgettable.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina: Jessica also reviewed this fantastic contemporary book in 2013 and we were fortunate enough to have an interview with Meg Medina too.
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle: This is an intriguing historical verse novel about a young woman who loved books, hated slavery, wanted equality for women, and spoke out to create change at a time when women were supposed to simply be decorative property.
The Living by Matt de la Peña: This is an exciting action/adventure/dystopian story that had me captured from the very beginning. My review is here.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle: This is the most recent author award winner. It’s fantastic and not to be missed. My review is here.
If you’re planning for your summer reading, the Pura Belpré list is an excellent place to find compelling stories.