Reviews of the 2021 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winners


¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat
by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay
Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g
3/20    978-1-328-55704-9    $14.99
e-book ed.  978-0-358-33070-7    $9.99

Little Lobo and his canine sidekick Bernabé, whom we met in ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market (rev. 3/19), are getting ready for another day in their delivery business when they receive an urgent request from their favorite wrestler, El Toro. The luchadores are training for a big show, and they are hungry! Thankfully, Little Lobo knows all the best food trucks where they can get enough tacos, carnitas, elotes, tamales, and burritos (and enough choices for dessert) to satisfy the energy needs of a group of wrestling stars. Little Lobo, Bernabé, their rooster friend Kooky Dooky, and all the characters in this diverting adventure are cartoony animals or imaginary creatures, and a straightforward narration is complemented by plenty of comic vignettes that advance the plot with dialogue in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. The busy illustrations are full of context clues and detailed elements. The characters are animated, and the scenes are vibrant with activity and movement — from a very stretchy cheese to a stack of flying tortillas. The abundance of labels and street signs makes this book a vocabulary lesson, too, on ingredients, food trucks, and culinary delicacies. ALICIA K. LONG

From the March/April 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Honor Book

Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello
by Monica Brown; illus. by Elisa Chavarri; trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez
Primary, Intermediate    Children’s/Lee & Low    40 pp.    g
8/20    978-0-89239-423-4    $19.95

This picture-book biography of Peruvian archaeologist and educator Julio C. Tello (1880–1947) forefronts Indigenous Peruvian science, knowledge systems, and art. Brown centers Tello’s indigeneity from the opening spread. Born in 1880 “in the shadow of the Andes mountains,” Tello spoke Quechua, the language spoken across generations of Indigenous Peruvian people. Nicknamed Sharuko for his brave disposition (“not even the skulls he and his brothers uncovered in ancient tombs” scared him), twelve-year-old Tello left the highlands for Lima to commence his studies, initiating a prolific and multi-continent educational journey. He returned to Peru in 1913, where at the Museum of Natural History in Lima he conducted groundbreaking excavation and fieldwork investigating the daily life of ancient Peruvians. Brown’s text, usually appearing in Spanish on the left-hand pages and in English on the right (expertly translated by Domínguez), is informative and engaging. Chavarri’s gouache and watercolor illustrations show panoramic Andean vistas, with saturated yellows balancing muted green hues; vignettes focus on resplendent brown faces; details in the art invite visual inquiry into renderings of colorful Paracas textiles and sculpted cabezas clavas from the archaeological site Chavín de Huántar. Author and illustrator notes affirm Brown’s and Chavarri’s (both of Peruvian descent) commitment to perpetuating Peru’s Indigenous culture. A bibliography is appended. LETTYCIA TERRONES

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Read reviews of the 2021 Pura Belpré Author Awards here and of the 2021 Pura Belpré YA Awards here. For more, click on the tag ALA Midwinter 2021.

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