The award ceremony for the Pura Belpré Award, also known as the ”Belpré Celebración” is a tradition on Sunday afternoons during Annual Conference, and one not to miss. This year’s event at the Renaissance Hotel resumed the celebration of ”excellence in books that portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.”
Now that the Award includes three categories (Illustration, Author, and Young Adult) it is co-sponsored by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking, ALSC, and YALSA.
With the presence of one of the Award co-founders, Oralia Garza de Cortés, in the audience, REFORMA’s former President Ana-Elba Pavón presented her with a plaque in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Award in 2021. Medal winners Raúl the Third, for ¡Vamos!: Let’s Cross the Bridge, Donna Barba Higuera for The Last Cuentista, and Raquel Vasquez Gilliland for How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe, received their medals and accepted them with powerful and emotional speeches emphasizing the fact that many of them did not see themselves reflected in books growing up. The recipients of Honor Awards also were able to say a few words when accepting the recognition, moving the audience with their stories of family, food, art, caring for plants and the Earth, and their commitment to show Latinx youth that their stories matter. They were:
- Young Adult: Jonny Garza Villa, Laekan Zea Kemp, and Marcia Argueta Mickelson
- Illustrator: C.G. Esperanza, Yuyi Morales, Nomar Perez, and Loris Lora
- Author: Alda P. Dobbs, Gloria Amescua, and Nomar Perez
The Belpré Celebración always include two cultural elements: a musical performance with youth, and the singing of the song ”De Colores”. This year’s performers were “Bailes de mi Tierra”, a colorful group of children and teens who delighted the audience with traditional folkloric dances.
As always, the authors and artists signed books at the end and met with their fans who were eager to add these special titles to their already heavy tote bags.
(Photos courtesy of guest blogger)
Conference guest contributor Alicia K. Long (she/her) is the Access Services Supervisor at the State College of Florida Libraries and is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Florida, School of Information. At this return to an in-person ALA conference she is looking forward to reuniting with colleagues in person. At the conference, she will be found munching on chocolate, always chocolate.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
Thank you so much for highlighting the Pura Belpré Award Celebración, Alicia! It’s greatly appreciated.