Pura Belpré Award
2008

Medal Winner for Narrative

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano  by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sean Qualls

 A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet.

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who  made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty. Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.

 

Medal Winner for Illustration

Los Gatos Black on Halloween llustrated by YuYu Morales, written by Marisa Montes J E Holiday MON
 Under October’s luna, full and bright, the monsters are throwing a ball in the Haunted Hall. Las brujas come on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren’t even there yet!
This lively bilingual Halloween poem introduces young readers to a spooky array of Spanish words that will open their ojos to the chilling delights of the season.

 

 

Honor Books for Narrative

Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life! by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand J 811 BER
Biographical poems about the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

 

 

 

 

Los Gatos Black on Halloween written by Marisa Montes,  llustrated by YuYu Morales,  J E Holiday MON
Under October’s luna, full and bright, the monsters are throwing a ball in the Haunted Hall. Las brujas come on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren’t even there yet!
This lively bilingual Halloween poem introduces young readers to a spooky array of Spanish words that will open their ojos to the chilling delights of the season.

 

 

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale by Carmen Agra Deedy; Illustrator: Michael Austin
J 398.2 DEE

Martina is a young cockroach who doesnt know coffee beans about love and marriage. Thats where her Cuban family comes in. While some of the Cucarachas offer her gifts to make her more attractive, only her grandmother gives her something really useful: some shocking advice.

 

Honor Books for Illustration

My Name is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez   llustrated by Raul Colon; written by Monica Brown J E GAR
 In the tradition of her previous biographical accounts,My Name is Celia and My name is Gabriela , Brown dazzles readers in this telling of Gabriel García Márquez’s magical childhood. Mesmerizing color-pencil, full-page illustrations wrap around the text to create what seems to be a perfect balance of art and language. Based on García Márquez’s adult autobiography Living to Tell the Tale (Knopf), this wonderful, engaging narrative transports readers to Gabito’s early childhood in northern Colombia. He shares heartwarming times with his grandpa and learns about the tough life of the fruit pickers he observes in the nearby banana plantation. The curious, budding storyteller is a dreamer who cherishes life’s every moment. When he decides to share his enchanted world with others, he is on his way to becoming one of the most acclaimed Latin American authors.

My Colors My World by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Trying to find color and beauty in her childhood world of the California Mojave Desert, Maya (the author/illustrator as a young girl) uses her artistic propensities to seek out objects that stand out from their dusty surroundings. The playful Latina girl, with her cleft chin, beauty mark and wide, brown almond-shaped eyes, is at the heart of every double-page spread with her companion, her purple bird. She finds pink in the sunset and in her favorite outfits, the orange marigolds, the purple irises with their yellow pollen, the green cactus and her red swing. To round out her palette, she finds her Papi's black hair, the blue of the night sky and the brown mud that she turns into beautifully decorated pies. The bilingual text provides a short poetic narrative, and the color words in Spanish and English are printed in a larger font that matches the color for each object. The intensely colored paintings, featuring some touches of magical realism (Maya floats into the sky with a brilliant pink sun and a moon with a folkloric rabbit in his cheek), don't always lend themselves easily to the color-concept book format, but this book can jump-start the world of the imagination.