Oh--what is the Belpre, you ask? The Pura Belpre Award goes "to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth." Like the Newbery and Caldecott, the Belpre is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA; and by REFORMA, an ALA affiliate. When? Tomorrow!
Tropical Secrets by Margarita Engle (Henry Holt) and Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez (Little, Brown), are (as you might guess by their covers) representative of the range of Latino cultural experience recognized by the Belpre. Tropical Secrets is a haunting verse novel about Holocaust refugees in Cuba; Confetti Girl is a more typical middle grade novel, with familiar middle grade concerns, set in the predominantly Latino community of Corpus Christi, TX. I hope they are both recognized tomorrow.
I think about the Newbery all year (watch for my annual Newbery predictions post to go up sometime before midnight tonight), but I had to scramble to read more than a handful of candidates for the Belpre in time for the ceremony. This year I resolve (it's not too late!) to read more books by Latino/Latina authors. And I also hope you'll join me.