New York, NY (January 31, 2023) — The American Library Association (ALA) announced the following Pura Belpré awards for two titles published by LEE & LOW BOOKS INC.: Where Wonder Grows illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia as the 2023 Pura Belpré Youth Illustration Award winner, and Still Dreaming / Seguimos soñando illustrated by Magdalena Mora as a 2023 Pura Belpré Youth Illustration Honor Book.
The accolades were revealed at the annual Youth Media Awards announcement. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the Awards guide caregivers, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best books, videos, and online content for children and teens.
“Garcia’s mural-like illustrations exude light and movement, while reflecting the natural elements (earth, water, air, fire) mentioned in the story,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Diane Olivo-Posner.
The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA, and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), an ALA affiliate. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. As a children’s librarian, storyteller, and author, she enriched the lives of Puerto Rican children in the U.S.A. through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.
Where Wonder Grows and Donde las maravillas crecen, written by Xelena González, is a lyrical intergenerational story, exploring of our connections to nature, family, and traditions. This loving portrait of the unique relationship grandparents share with their grandchildren received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, and earned 2022 Best Book selections from Kirkus, Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature, and Chicago Public Library. Adriana M. Garcia is a visual artist, a muralist, and an illustrator. She is the recipient of a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Honor for her debut picture book, All Around Us also by Xelena González. Garcia has exhibited her artwork nationally and has presented at conferences, schools, and museums around the United States. She especially loves painting portraits of strong women to honor those who have come before and those who continue to lead by example. Garcia lives in San Antonio, TX.
Still Dreaming / Seguimos soñando, written by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez, is the first children’s book to describe the long-forgotten chapter of US history known as Mexican Repatriation. The story follows a young child and his family as they leave their beloved home to avoid being separated by the government. The New York Times praised it, saying “The soft washes of color in Magdalena Mora’s illustrations — no harsh lines, no sharp borders — swim with nostalgia and hope, a landscape where the boy’s memories are painted across the sky and his dreams of return find an echo in the migratory path of monarch butterflies.” The picture book made the 2023 Notable Books for a Global Society list and was chosen as a 2022 Best Books of the Year by the New York Public Library. Magdalena Mora is an illustrator and graphic designer with a special interest in children’s books and visual storytelling. She lives in Minneapolis, MN.
About LEE & LOW BOOKS INC.
Established in 1991, Lee & Low Books is the largest children’s book publisher in the United States specializing in diversity and has been a leader in the movement for greater representation in children’s publishing for over 30 years. The family-run, independent, and certified 100% Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) produces high-quality books for every age, that are truly “about everyone – for everyone” under the imprints Bebop Books, Children’s Book Press, Cinco Puntos Press, Lee & Low Books, Shen’s Books, and Tu Books. The list includes leveled books for beginning readers, picture books, early chapter books, middle grade, and young adult books, and a wide selection of bilingual and Spanish language titles. The company’s commitment to diversity is further reflected in the often cited Diversity Baseline Survey, an ongoing study of demographics in the publishing industry. Visit leeandlow.com to learn more.