Pura Belpré Award

Medal Winner for Narrative

[Esperanza Rising book cover]Pam Munoz Ryan. Esperanza Rising  YA Ryan, P.
Pampered thirteen-year-old Esperanza and her mother are forced to flee Mexico following her father's sudden death and his brothers' takeover of their land. In a California migrant-worker camp, they encounter poverty and racism that are mitigated by the support of family and friends. Esperanza's response to the fall from privileged life into a 1930s, immigrant experience transforms her from a spoiled child into a strong adolescent.

According to Dr. Eliza T. Dresang, Chair of the Pura Belpré Selection Committee, "Esperanza Rising brings to young readers beautifully executed literature, simple but eloquent and rich in historical details, powerful imagery, and symbolism. Vivid descriptions of the social and economic hardships of the Mexican migrant workers create compelling realism for contemporary readers."

Medal Winner for Illustration

[Chato book cover]Susan Guevara, Illustrator. Written by Gary Soto. Chato and the Party Animals

 j E SOT

Susan Guevara's larger-than-life, mural-like images translate and extend Soto's barrio story with vitality, color, and social commentary. Discovering that his best friend, Novio Boy, has never had a birthday party, Chato the Cat plans a surprise pachanga. Everything is set except that Chato forgets to invite the guest of honor. Sly humor and Latino symbolism abound in these innovative, acrylic-on-scratchboard illustrations. "Guevara's vivacious, distinctive artistic style creates a culturally authentic picture book with immense child appeal," Dresang said.


Honor Books

Honor Winners for Narrative

Francisco Jiménez. Breaking Through.  YA Jimenez, F.
Jiménez's compelling autobiographical stories in Breaking Through, sequel to The Circuit, combine dramatic social issues of poverty and prejudice in the 1950s with timeless adolescent experiences of family tension, school, and romance. Powerful images of a teenager oversoming crushing poverty and personal challenges while maintaining hope encourage readers to "break through" their own barriers with tenacity and courage.



Francisco X. Alarcón. Iguanas in the Snow. Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez.

j 811 ALA
Iguanas in the Snow, a collection of seventeen bilingual poems depicting winter in San Francisco and nearby mountains, surprise and delight like peppermint candy on the tongue. Alarcón's rich verbal imagery peppers the pages with Latino children's experiences in a multicultural setting.

Honor Winners for IIlustration

Joe Cepeda, Illustrator. Retold by Marisa Montes. Juan Bobo Goes to Work.


Juan Bobo Goes to Work carries on Pura Belpré's tradition of retelling traditional Puerto Rican folktales. Cepeda humorously depicts Juan Bobo's determined but disastrous antics through bold brush strokes, expert use of varied perspectives, and vibrant Caribbean colors.