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Pura's Cuentos

How Pura Belpre Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories



Abrams Books for Young Readers (pub.9.7.2021) 40 pages

Author: Annette Bay Pimentel

Illustrator: Magaly Morales

Character: Pure Belpre

Overview: "Pura’s abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.

When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories—but they’re only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish."

Tantalizing taste:

"In New York City, she misses the taste of mango and the call of the coqui.

She misses Abuela's cuentos.

But Harlem bubbles with its own exciting stories. It thrums with dancing feet and swirling satin.

Drums rumble. Saxophones wail."

And something more: Annette Bay Pimentel shares in the Author's Note: "I am personally especially indebted to Belpre for her brilliant idea of offering bilingual storytimes. She was the first New York librarian to offer stories in more than one language - and perhaps the first in the country. When our family lived in Bosnia, my kindergartener came home from her local Bosnian school sadder and sadder every day. It was a bilingual storytime that finally helped her connect to the other kindergarteners and made her feel like their school was her school. The bilingual storytime movement, sparked by Belpre, has helped many families like mine feel welcome in new places."

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