|Pura's cuentos : how Pura Belpre reshaped libraries with her stories|
Author: Pimentel, Annette Bay
In this fictional biography, Pura Belpre breaks the rules of storytime by telling unpublished bilingual stories from her homeland of Puerto Rico.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/21)
School Library Journal (09/01/21)
Booklist (+) (09/15/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2021 PreS-Gr 1—Pura Belpré grew listening to stories in Puerto Rico, especially those told by her grandmother. Later, when she moved to Harlem in New York and started working at a branch library, she felt drawn to follow the path of the librarians, who were reading stories from books to the kids. Pura took charge of story times, but she realized something was missing: The stories that were not told by books, and thus, she broke the rules and began to tell her grandma's stories. This loosely biographical picture book depicts a brave and determined woman whose bilingual English and Spanish story times broke the status quo to spread the power of storytelling. Her advocacy brought many people of color to the library, people who felt newly welcome there. Pimentel offers a storyline for young audiences that radiates hope and accomplishment. The English language narrative, set to a medium size black-and-white font, is lyrical and whimsical, employing occasional Spanish language terms. Morales's illustrations, visualized with a touch of cubism and curb lines, express the plot through magnificent detail and layers of green, blue, brown, and purple. The full-spread and digitally made illustrations will connect with readers while expressing the written narrative and installing a sense of joy. The back matter, set in pink background and black font, contains a selected bibliography of books written by Belpré and those she translated into Spanish. The author's notes also offer some biographical information. VERDICT A brief book whose dreamlike illustrations will enhance young readers' imagination.—Kathia Ibacache, Univ. of Colorado Boulder - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2021 *Starred Review* Enter the inspiring world of legendary children’s librarian Pura Belpré and find out how vibrant stories in her childhood influenced libraries. Belpré grows up in Puerto Rico, nurturing her imagination as she “drinks up Abuela’s cuentos” and explores the charm in each character described in Spanish. She internalizes the value in cultural representation, humor, performance, and the art of oral storytelling. When she later moves to New York and becomes a librarian, she is joyously now in charge of storytime. However, the rule is to only read books strictly in print to children. “Pura knows that not all stories worth telling are in books,” Pimentel notes, especially when kings and queens aren’t culturally relevant. She performs what she knows about storytelling for her bosses, and they are so enthralled that they make an exception for her: she is allowed to tell her own stories! With her dynamic talent and bilingual skills, Belpré draws in Spanish-speaking families, expanding the library’s reach and shaping children’s literature forever. 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 well as of inclusion, diversity, proactiveness, talent, and social impact, this is a treasure of a picture-book biography. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.