Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Planting Stories follows “la vida y el legado of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City.” She traveled from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York (in 1921) for her sister’s wedding but soon called the city home as it was “alive with hope and possibility.” Carrying the stories Abuela would tell of home in her heart, she shared them and planted each one like seeds in fertile ground. She was a storyteller who became a published author and puppeteer.
Anika Aldamuy Denise’s story is beautifully written and is interspersed with Spanish. It includes an author’s note, a selected bibliography, and more details about the stories by Pura Belpré that are mentioned in the book. I enjoyed getting to know more about the woman after whom the literary award is named.
Paola Escobar’s illustrations are the perfect marriage with Anika’s words. They gave me life and filled me with delight and merriment. She uses imagery throughout that is impactful, that masterfully captures the heart of the story. The color palette is at once rich and warm, and is incredibly stunning! Each page is a gift to take in, but the final two pages where the seeds that had been sown by Pura Belpré had grown into “the open air of possibility” warmed this librarian’s heart the most. This would be a great book to share with students on any occasion and is well suited for the K-5 library and classroom.
Anika Aldamuy Denise | https://www.anikadenise.com/about/
Paola Escobar | https://www.behance.net/pesdesign
An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Pura Belpré Award | http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/belpremedal