ALA Annual 2014

Behind the scenes at the Pura Belpré Award Celebracií³n #alaac14

Medalist Yuyi Morales created this dress to match her award-winning book, Niño Wrestles the World.

The Pura Belpré Award Celebracií³n is always my favorite event at ALA. The award is given to an illustrator and a writer whose work “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” I was a committee member back in 2010, and I try to help with the event each year because I love spending time with my friends from REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library And Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking)  and CAYASC (Children’s and Young Adult Services Committee). It’s always really fun to meet the award recipients, too, of course!

This year’s decorations were especially beautiful. Committee member Armando Ramirez provided bright purple papel picado which he had custom designed with Pura Belpré’s image on every sheet of the delicate paper. Armando also brought his collection of beautiful rebozos to adorn the tables.

Since it was the first event of the day to take place in the Caesar’s Palace Octavius Ballroom, the hotel workers were nice enough to let us take a sneak peek the night before the Celebracií³n. After the event, the workers let a few of us leave via the secret freight elevator in the kitchen.

As always, the speeches were the best part of the event. The authors and illustrators shared heartbreaking and heartwarming stories about growing up Latino in the United States.

José-Luis Orozco

As is the tradition, after the speeches we held hands and swayed while singing the folksong “De Colores.” This year we were lucky enough to have José-Luis Orozco perform for us. Since I am a huge fan, I gave him a special gift which he wore during the performance–a hand carved guitar pick holder on a leather string which was made by one of my library’s teen volunteers.

Medina, Meg. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2013. Print.
Meg Medina’s Young Adult novel wins the medal.

I almost forgot to mention how much I loved this year’s winning titles: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, and Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales. Please try to buy multiple copies of each for your library’s Children’s and Young Adult collections.





Rebecca Hickman, Youth Services Librarian, Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University.

One comment

  1. Abby Johnson

    Thank you for posting about this! I have never attended the Celebracion, but I will definitely check it out next year!

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