On Sunday afternoon, we celebrated Pura Belprè’s 21st Anniversary. The Pura Belprè ceremony celebrates award-winning Latino writers and illustrators. Although I am Latina, I sometimes feel a bit distant from my Mexican and Puerto Rican roots because my family rarely shares stories and are fluent in English. Most times, my knowledge of my culture only revolves around the food.
SO. MUCH. CULTURE.
The Pura Belpre Celebracion immersed me in the latino culture. I felt so grateful to be a part of this experience for the first time! I loved hearing the winners speeches and learning about their families and origins.
Juana Medina, 2017 Pura Belprè Award recipient for Narrative, said, “We need to offer more to the Latino community when it comes to narrative,” and I really couldn’t agree more. First and foremost, I need to do my part in seeking out authors and other artists of the Latino community, but I feel I don’t hear much surrounding Latino artists unless they are already well known like, Junot Díaz, Paulo Coelho, etc. (all are amazing, THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho and THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER by Junot Dìaz, being two of my favorite books. Check out this booklist from the Huffington Post. These titles really are life changing.)
One of the main topics during this conference was “diversity,” and it really got my wheels turning. There were so many times where I wondered if I was doing enough on my part to represent my culture (in this field and in general) and I don’t think I am. I have to really give thanks to the Pura Belprè Celebraciòn for making all of these feelings and thoughts surface. This is definitely an event I plan on attending every year!
Here is a fun search I found (it includes award winning, THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR: A TALE OF TWO VOLCANOES by Duncan Tonatiuh). I will be doing my part to read more, see more, learn more, and share more! You can watch a video of the special dance performance by Peru Profundo Dance Company that happened during the ceremony on our Facebook and Twitter pages! #purabelpre