Who is Pura Belpre and why is she important?

by EZReader@evpl on Thursday, August 28 2008, 2:03pm. Viewed 578 times.

Storyteller's candle coverI've just finished reading The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos by Lucia Gonzalez (with illustrations by Lulu Delacre).  Most likely few people outside the library world know about Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian hired by the New York Public Library system.  Her contributions to children's library services are legendary, however.  During the dark days of the Great Depression Belpre provided a safe and comfortable environment for immigrant children (and adults, too) at her library in El Barrio.  Gonzalez's written tribute to Belpre is as warm and glowing as the candle she lit at the end of every storytime.  In the words of Belpre herself, "the library is for everyone, la bibliotea es para todos..."  Since 1996 the Pura Belpre Award, sponsored by ALA, honors "Latino writers and illustrators whose children's books celebrate the Latino cultural experience."  Come meet this remarkable woman.


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