Pura Belpré Award

Year: 2016

Drum Dream Girl

Author: Margarita Engle

Drum Dream Girl won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Medal for 2016. This is the story of a young Cuban girl who dreams of playing the drums. However, the elders in her community tell her that only boys can play the drums. The girl doesn't give up on her dreams, though, and continues to find a beat all around her. Finally, her dad agrees to hire a teacher who will tell her whether she's good enough to play for the community. This story is based on the life of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a drummer in Cuba's first all-female dance band. 

Year: 2015

Viva Frieda

Author: Yuyi Morales

This book is not only a Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner, but also a Caldecott Honor Book for 2015. In this story, Frida Kahlo was often sick as a child growing up in Mexico. Having had polio as a child, one leg was significantly shorter thant he other. Frida hid her legs under frilly skirts until she was 18; at that time she was involved in a bus crash that left her in a full-body cast. While in the hospital recovering, she discovered her love for art. Frida's recovery led her into the life of a thriving artist. 

Year: 2014

Niño Wrestles the World

Author: Yuyi Morales

Book summary: Niño (which means kid) is a very brave luchadore (wrestler) who fights and defeats all of his opponents through the use of signature moves and cunning. This story includes some words in Spanish and is a child-appropriate introduction into the world of luche libre (free fighting).

Year: 2013

Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Martín was the son of a nobleman and a slave woman. His mother asked the local priests to take him in and teach him. Martín’s humble birth caused him to be mistreated by the priests, though that did not stop Martín from showing compassion toward others. He possessed the gift of healing which he used first in the poorest sections of town, the barrio. Martín grew to be a beloved saint.

Year: 2012

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours

Author: Duncan Tonatiuh

This book relates the story of world-renown artist, Diego Rivera, as a young boy in a way that encourages children to dream about their own futures. Rivera is shown as a mischievous boy who loves to create artwork. The author prompts readers to think about the kinds of things Rivera would paint today.

Year: 2011

Grandma’s Gift

Author: Eric Velasquez

In this autobiographical story, Eric spends Christmas break from school with his Puerto Rican grandma. Eric and his grandma create many happy memories as she passes down customs from Puerto Rico. When Eric is assigned to view an exhibit at the National Museum of Arts, Grandma must face her fears of leaving the barrio and entering an unfamiliar part of New York City. Together Eric and his grandma discover the portrait of Juan de Pareja, a slave who worked in the studio of Diego Velázquez and would later become a painter himself.

Year: 2010

Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day

Author: Pat Mora

This bilingual book depicts the joy of celebrating both children and books.