Annal: 2008 Pura Belpré Award for Narrative

Results of the Pura Belpré Award in the year 2008. Due to multiple honors from a single award, the following titles received no points in this category: Los Gatos Black on Halloween.

Book:The Poet Slave of Cuba

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

Margarita Engle

A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet.

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.

Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.

Book:Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life!

Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life!

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

Frida Kahlo, a native of Mexico, is described here in biographical poems accompanied by her own artwork. Both text and images reveal the anguish and joy of her two marriages to muralist Diego Rivera, her life-long suffering from a crippling bus accident, and her thirst for life, even as she tasted death.

Book:Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Marisa Montes, Yuyi Morales

Follow los monstruos and los esqueletos to the Halloween party

Under October’s luna, full and bright, the monsters are throwing a ball in the Haunted Hall. Las brujas come on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren’t even there yet!

This lively bilingual Halloween poem introduces young readers to a spooky array of Spanish words that will open their ojos to the chilling delights of the season.

Book:Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

Carmen Agra Deedy

Carmen Agra Deedy delivers a deliciously inventive Cuban version of the beloved Martina folktale, complete with a dash of café cubano.

Martina the beautiful cockroach doesn't know coffee beans about love and marriage. That's where her Cuban family comes in. While some of the Cucarachas offer her gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her something really useful: un consejo increible, some shocking advice.

'You want me to do what?' Martina gasps.

At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela's unorthodox suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails The Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love. Soon, only the gardener Pérez, a tiny brown mouse, is left. But what will happen when Martina offers him café Cubano?

After reading this sweet and witty retelling of the Cuban folktale, you'll never look at a cockroach the same way again.

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