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On the Futurity of the Pura Belpré Award

A reflection on the future of the Pura Belpré Award must begin with a meditation on the past. As Black, Caribbean, Afro-Atlantic, and Afro-Latinx scholars teach us, the future is in the past, and the present is in the future. My contemplation, then, begins with two iconic photographs of Pura...

Lighting the Candle: Thank You, Mr. Baumgartner

Irene (seated, second from left) and Pam (seated, fifth from left) in third grade. (Photo courtesy of Pam Muñoz Ryan.) If I hadn’t been a failed violinist, I might never have become a writer. When I was in fourth grade, the public school I attended had a coveted orchestra program....

HBTV: Pura Belpré Award Videos

Welcome to HBTV, our exciting new (occasional) children's book-related TV show! In the inaugural episode of HBTV, I talk about the Pura Belpré Awards, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, with Belpré Award winner Meg Medina and award co-founder Sandra Ríos Balderrama.     My Belpré conversation continues in...

Lighting the Candle: Untitled

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here. Illustration (c) 2021 by Sara Palacios....

Lighting the Candle: What Words and Art Can Do

This is a joyful memory, lo prometo, though it’s one connected to suffering as well. I am a writer and walk in this world with gratitude and purpose because of my mother, Isabel María Valdivieso Vexler Brown. In teaching me how to be an artist, she taught me how to...

Lighting the Candle: Dance with Me

Lilliam Rivera (left) with Titi Luz. (Photo courtesy of Lilliam Rivera.) She wore a long, colorful falda and matching blouse, or blusa, with ribboned ruffles, perfectly made for twirling. On a small stage stood my aunt Luz E. Ortiz Vázquez, ready to dance with her partner, who took her by...

Lighting the Candle: Mrs. Miller's Magic

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: The Kindness of Time

A page from one of the author's notebooks. (Photo: John Wiggins.) The kindness of time allows us to elucidate and inhabit memories from our childhoods that have shaped us into becoming who we are. I have always loved words, their sounds and textures. When I was a young girl, my...

Simple and Unassuming: Seeing Myself in the Story of a Bossy Rooster

You never know what it is about a book that an individual reader will connect with. It could be a character’s personality or interests. It could be the setting, a shared home. And sometimes it is something as simple and unassuming as an object. Let’s say, a box. When my...
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