REFORMA Announces the 2020 Pura Belpre Award Winners

Every year, the Pura Belpré Award is presented to a Latino/Latina author and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
Established in 1996, the award is named after a pioneer in Latino librarianship, Pura Belpré, who was the first Latina to work at the New York Public Library and who was also a writer and storyteller.

The most prestigious award for Latino Children's Literature, the Pura Belpré is co-administered by the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.This year's awards were announced during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Monday, January 27th, 2020.

Winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Award for Illustration:

"Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln", illustrated by Rafael López, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. A story about Venezuelan born Teresa Carreño who started playing the piano as a very young girl and was writing songs by age six. Forced to flee Venezuela, she moved to New York, traveled to other cities to play the piano, and was invited to play for President Abraham Lincoln. The book was written by Margarita Engle and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division. 

Three Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were named:

  • "Across the Bay", illustrated by Carlos Aponte, written by the illustrator and published by Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; 
  • "My Papi Has a Motorcycle", illustrated by Zeke Peña, written by Isabel Quintero and published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; and 
  • "¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market", illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez, written by the author and published by Versify, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Award for Text

"Sal and Gabi Break the Universe", written by Carlos Hernandez, is the Pura Belpré Author Award winner. A story about thirteen-year-old magician Sal Vidón as he moves to Florida where he meets Gabi Reál, an aspiring journalist and student council president. Together they try to solve the mystery of how Sal “breaks the universe” and why they are the only ones who can see the hole. The book was published by Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group.

Four Belpré Author Honor Books were named:

  • "Lety Out Loud", written by Angela Cervantes and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; 
  • "The Other Half of Happy", written by Rebecca Balcárcel and published by Chronicle Books; 
  • "Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré", written by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar and published by HarperCollins Children's Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers; and 
  • "Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War", written by Duncan Tonatiuh, illustrated by the author and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.
For more information on the Pura Belpré award visit:

Established in 1971, REFORMA has actively sought to promote the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population in regards to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos. For more information on REFORMA, visit