A lyrical, vibrant tribute to the amazing life and legacy of Pura Belpré, a lauded storyteller, librarian, and pioneer of bilingual storytimes
Pura’s abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.
When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories—but they’re only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish.
Lyrically written, with lively illustrations, Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren’t printed in books—at least, not yet.
About the Author
Annette Bay Pimentel is the author of several nonfiction picture books, including All the Way to the Top, which received a Schneider Family Book Award honor; and Girl Running, which was a Junior Library Guild pick and received a starred review; and our own forthcoming Pura’s Cuentos. She lives in Moscow, Idaho. Madison Safer (she/her) is a queer illustrator whose work is inspired by Russian folk art, Jewish paper cuttings, quilt patterns, and the quiet woods of New England. She received her bachelor of fine arts in illustration studies from Montserrat College of Art. Before Music is her debut picture book.
"The accompanying illustrations are vibrant, with rich, saturated colors. Dynamic double-page illustrations often consist of vignettes that blend into one another, adding depth to the narration. . .A vibrant portrayal of an important figure."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Morales' vivid artwork in warm, saturated colors wittily captures the movement, rhythm, and energy of Belpré's legacy, which is echoed in the lyrical text. Emphasizing the importance of books as mirrors, as well as inclusion, diversity, proactiveness, talent, and social impact, this is a treasure of a picture-book biography."
"Glowing, elegantly constructed celebration of a literary luminary."
— Publishers Weekly
"Captures Belpré’s dazzling storytelling. . .Deftly incorporated details throughout the art, including a coqui and characters such as Pérez and Martina, evoke Belpré’s childhood influences and culture."
— The Horn Book Magazine
"The full-spread and digitally made illustrations will connect with readers while expressing the written narrative and installing a sense of joy. . .A brief book whose dreamlike illustrations will enhance young readers’ imagination."
— School Library Journal