Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar

When Pura Belpré came from San Juan to Nueva York in 1921, “words traveled... read more

When Pura Belpré came from San Juan to Nueva York in 1921, “words traveled with her: stories her abuela taught her. Cuentos folklóricos Pura told in the shade of a tamarind tree in Puerto Rico.” Pura gets a job at the New York Public Library, but there are no stories like the ones her abuela taught her on the shelves. Pura begins telling them herself in bilingual story times, eventually adding puppets, but she knows books are important too, which is why she begins writing the cuentos down. Pérez y Martina is the first of many tales from her homeland written by Pura and published for children everywhere to read and hear, each story a seed she planted that continues to grow and bloom. Illustrations with a vintage mid-20th-century feel in palette and style form the backdrop for a lively narrative perfect for reading aloud, which is just as it should be given Pura Belpré’s storytelling gifts.

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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