Spice Up Your Library With Pura Belpre! Using Award-Winning Titles and Crafts to Engage Hispanic Children and Celebrate Diversity

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Recent statistical studies suggest the proportion of Hispanic students within our nation’s classrooms is growing at a significant rate, experiencing the highest increase in numbers of any other ethnic group. These students require resources conducive to English language learning which also honor the Hispanic/Latino culture. Yet, out of 3,400 books received by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) in 2011, only 52 were penned or created by Latino authors/ illustrators. This number is expected to decline over the coming years. This insufficiency is an enormous challenge to librarians who strive to empower the Hispanic student population and promote cultural diversity among all students.

Empowering Learners, (p. 53) reminds us that librarians offer materials and services to accommodate the needs of children for whom English is a second language. The library program ideally seeks to reflect the linguistic and cultural pluralism of our country.

How can we arise to this need? Librarians succeed in supporting Hispanic students by utilizing Pura Belpré award-winning titles. This accolade is presented annually by the Association of Library Services to Children (a division of the ALA) 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,” embodying the essence of the Latino culture.

The promotion of Pura Belpre’ titles, the delivery of associated crafts and activities as well as the use of online resources serve as indispensable tools to assist the librarian in enriching the literary experiences of Hispanic learners and celebrating the Latino heritage with all children.

In our session, we share in-depth knowledge of selected titles with correlating crafts and activities. Attendees will leave the session with practical, concrete instructional ideas, ready for immediate use.


Orlando, FL

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