Ben Alire Saenz, David Di­az to Receive Prestigious Belpre Medal

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2013
Austin, Texas

Oralia Garza de Cortés
1-512-779-6585 or 

Lucia González 

Ben Alire Sáenz, David Díaz to Receive Prestigious Belpré Medal for Excellence in Latino Children’s Literature

What:  2013 Pura Belpré Celebración
When: Sunday, June 30, 2013, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Where: HYATT Regency Grand A
             151 East Wacker Dr. Chicago, Ill. 

   David Díaz, illustrator of Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert, and Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, will receive the prestigious Belpré Medal during the annual meeting of the American Library Association to be held on Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand A, 151 East Wacker Drive

   The Pura Belpré Medal, established in 1996, honors Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in works for children. The award is jointly co-sponsored by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA. 

   In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Sáenz explores issues of identity, friendship, family and love in this exquisite novel that captures the story of two boys on the edge of manhood. Simon & Schuster Books published the book for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division.  Alire Sáenz was named one of the fifty most inspiring authors in the world by Poets and Writers Magazine in 2010, and received the PEN / Faulkner Fiction Award in 2013. 

   David Diaz ‘s dazzling illustrations for Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert expertly demonstrate his use of color, perspective and contrast to portray luminous mixed-media illustrations that complement and expand the illustrated biography of the first African-heritage saint of the Américas.  The book was written by Gary D. Schmidt and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

   Sonia Manzano, better known as “Maria” on Sesame Street, will receive an Honor Award for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano,  for her work that captures the political, social and cultural tensions brought on by her activism in the Young Lords in 1969 Spanish Harlem.  Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., published her debut novel 

   Guest scholar Lisa Sánchez González, author The Stories I Read to My Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré will speak briefly on the work of the first Latina Librarian in the United States, Pura Belpré, for whom this award is named. 

   The ceremony will also feature a musical presentation by Bomba con BUYA, a Puerto Rican Youth Performing Arts Group from Chicago.  

   ALSC is the world's largest organization dedicated to creating a better future for children through libraries.  To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at

  REFORMA is national organization of library and information professionals committed to promoting the development of library collections that include Spanish language and Latino oriented materials.  The organization strongly  advocates for culturally relevant  and linguistically appropriate library services, programs and materials  to  meet the information and cultural needs of the Latino community. For more information on REFORMA, visit