Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2023

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Named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library, the Pura Belpré Award was established in 1996.

It recognizes #ownvoices writers and illustrators whose work best portrays the Latinx culture in an outstanding work of children and youth literature.

Enjoy browsing this complete  list of Pura Belpré award winners of the past 27 years for some inspiring reads!

Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2023

1996 Author Award Winner

An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio
by Cofer, Judith Ortiz

Pura Belpré Award Winners: An Island Like You

An Island Like You is a collection of twelve stories about growing up in the barrio. From Rita, who goes to live with her grandparents in Puerto Rico, to Luis, who works at his father’s junkyard, and Sandra, who tries to rediscover her natural Latino beauty, the vibrant stories capture the experiences of different teenagers in the barrio. ~ Hispanic – High School 

1996 Illustrator Award Winner

Chato’s Kitchen
by Gary Soto

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Chato's kitchen

The coolest low-riding cat in the barrio, Chato, is preparing a feast to welcome his new neighbours: A tasty-looking family of mice. In his mind, the main course and the guests of honour are one and the same thing. But the mice are bringing a surprise guest of their own… Chato’s Kitchen is a fun read, brought to life by Susan Guevera’s rich comical illustrations.  ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

1998 Author Award Winner

Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida
by Victor Martinez

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

In a series of vignettes Parrot In The Oven tells the compelling story of a Mexican American teenager’s coming of age. All 14-year-old Manny Hernandez wants is some respect. But with an abusive father, a troubled brother, and a cleaning-obsessed mother, that isn’t easy to achieve. One way to get respect in the barrio is to be in a gang, but Manny′s not sure that this is really what he wants… ~ Hispanic – High School 

1998 Illustrator Award Winner

Snapshots from the Wedding
by Gary Soto

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Snapshots from the Wedding

In vivid snapshots, flower girl Maya gives readers a glimpse into a Latino wedding. Snapshots from the Wedding captures all the special moments. There’s Aunt Marta crying during the ceremony, and there are games, a cake, and dancing to a mariachi band. Stephanie Garcia’s unique illustrations show sculpted clay figures in wooden shadow box frames. The background of pastel with lace gives this picture book the feel of a wedding album. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

2000 Author Award Winner

Under the Royal Palms
by Alma Flor Ada

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Under The Royal Palms

In ten poignant stories, Ama Flor Ada shares her childhood memories of growing up in post-war Cuba. Under the Royal Palms tells of the important people in the author’s life, from her loving mother and her daring uncle with his love of flying to a beloved dance teacher who helped her through a very difficult school year. This companion book to Where the Flame Trees Bloom offers young readers another inspiring collection of stories that might just encourage them to have a closer look at their own stories. Includes black-and-white photographs of the author and her family. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

2000 Illustrator Award Winner

Magic Windows
by Carmen Lomas Garza

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Magic Windows

Magic Windows offers a glimpse into the personal stories behind Carmen Lomas Garza’s artwork. From picking oranges for her grandmother to watching her grandfather water the garden, from making tamales with the whole family to teaching her nieces and nephews how to make their own magic windows, this beautiful book celebrates family, community and the author’s Mexican heritage. In simple bilingual text, Garza explains the stories behind her cut-paper images and paintings. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School


2002 Author Award Winner

Esperanza Rising
by Pam Munoz Ryan

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Esperanza Rising

Based on the life of Munoz Ryan’s grandmother, this middle-grade novel tells the story of Esperanza. The young girl has to flee from her rich life on a Mexican ranch during the Great Depression. Now living in a camp for Mexican workers in California, she experiences hard labour, poverty and hostility for the first time. Esperanza Rising is a captivating story about immigration, assimilation and a young girl’s growth in the face of change and adversity. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

2002 Illustrator Award Winner

Chato and the Party Animals
by Gary Soto

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Chato and the Party Animals

When Chato learns that Novio Boy has never had a birthday party, he decides to throw him a surprise pachanga.  He invites everyone in the neighbourhood, cooks up a feast, arranges a pinata and music, and orders a special cake.  But when the party starts he realizes that he forgot the most important thing…  With lively text and Guevera’s bold artwork, Chato and The Party Animals is a fun sequel to Chato’s Kitchen. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

2004 Author Award Winner

Before We Were Free
by Julia Alvarez

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Before We Were Free

12-year-old Anita has never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But then most of her family emigrates to the U.S., her Tío Toni disappears without a trace, and secret police terrorize her remaining family. Anita gradually becomes aware of the lack of freedom under the country’s dictatorship. When her father and uncle are arrested, Anita and her mother have to go into hiding in their friends’ bedroom closet. Before We Were Free is a stirring novel about adolescence, perseverance, and one girl’s struggle to be free. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2004 Illustrator Award Winner

Just a Minute
by Yuyi Morales

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Just A MinuteH

With a knock at the door, Señor Calavera arrives at Grandma Beetle’s house. He tells her it’s time to come along but Grandma Beetle stalls for time. “Just a Minute,” she says, and attends to one chore after the next, from sweeping the house to cooking and filling piñatas. Eventually, her nine grandchildren arrive for her birthday party, and Señor Calavera is invited, too. With dynamic text and lively illustrations reflecting Mexican culture, Just a Minute – A Trickster Tale and Counting Book is a fun and original read-aloud book. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

2006 Author Award Winner

The Tequila Worm
by Viola Canales

Pura Belpré Award Winners: The Tequila Worm

When 14-year-old Sofia receives a scholarship to an elite boarding school, she has to leave the barrio and navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. The Tequila Worm is an easy-to-read, heartfelt coming-of-age story of a Mexican American girl working towards her dreams whilst valuing her roots. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2006 Illustrator Award Winner

Doña Flor
by Pat Mora

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Dona Flor

Giant Doña Flor is popular in her tiny village in the American Southwest. She lets the children use her flowers as trumpets, her leftover tortillas as rafts, and she loves reading to them. When there is a terrifying roar just outside the village one day, Flor and her animal friends set off to find the creature, only to discover a very small reason for the big noise. Doña Flor is a humorous tall tale about a giant lady with an even bigger heart, beautifully illustrated with Raul Colón’s signature warm mix of watercolour washes, etching, and litho pencils. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

2008 Author Award Winner

The Poet Slave of Cuba
by Margarita Engle

Pura Belpré Award Winners: The Poet Slave of Cuba

Kept by a wealthy slave owner in 1797 Cuba, 6-year-old Juan Francisco Manzano was treated like a pet. His mistress abused his talent for memorizing and reciting poems by making him perform in front of her guests. After her death, Manzano became the property of an even crueller mistress. He had to endure countless beatings and confinements before his escape at age 16. In powerful free verse and with compelling illustrations, The Poet Slave of Cuba tells the heart-breaking story of a young survivor of slavery. Despite experiencing unspeakable cruelty, Manzano managed to maintain hope and went on to become a celebrated poet. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2008 Illustrator Award Winner

Los Gatos Black on Halloween
by Marisa Montes

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Los Gatos Black on Halloween

It’s Halloween! Los muertos rise from their coffins, las brujascome arrive on their broomsticks, and los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. But the party stops dead with the arrival of scary human niños Los Gatos Black on Halloween is fun and suspenseful bilingual poem, beautifully illustrated by three-times award-winner Yuyi Morales. Her spooky yet humorous paintings will be a hit with all children! ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

2009 Author Award Winner

The Surrender Tree
by Margarita Engle

Pura Belpré Award Winners: The Surrender Tree

After three wars for independence, Cuba is still is not free in 1896. People are sent to “reconcentration camps” where there is little food and plenty of illness. In alternating voices and free verse, The Surrender Tree reveals pieces of Cuba’s lesser-known past, drawing on Engle’s grandmother’s stories. The main narrator is Rosa, a traditional healer, who nurses runaway slaves and deserters in hidden caves. Other voices include those of Rosa’s husband José, camp escapee Silvia, and evil slave hunter Lieutenant Death who collects the ears of the slaves he has killed. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2009 Illustrator Award Winner

Just In Case
by Yuyi Morales

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Just In Case

In this sequel to award-winning, Just a Minute Señor Calvera tries to figure out what to give Grandma Beetle for her birthday. Misunderstanding Zelmiro the Ghost’s advice, he decides to get her one gift for every letter of the alphabet: An accordion (acordéon) for her to dance to. a mustache (bigotes) because she has none, tickles (cosquillas) to make her laugh… When he arrives at the end of the alphabet, Señor Calvera realizes that the best gift for Grandma Beetle is seeing her friends. Yuyi Morales’ fun and warm artwork complement the story-line of Just in Case beautifully. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

2010 Author Award Winner

Return to Sender
by Julia Alvarez

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Return To Sender

When 11-year-old Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to let undocumented Mexican labourers run their Vermont farm. Tyler starts befriending the workers’ daughter, Mari, with whom he shares an interest in stargazing. But will their friendship survive when immigration agents raid the farm and imprison Mari’s parents? Told through alternating viewpoints of Tyler and Mari, Return to Sender is a contemporary immigration story without easy answers but full of hope. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

2010 Illustrator Award Winner

Book Fiesta!
by Pat Mora

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Book Fiesta!

Book Fiesta! is a bilingual celebration of Children’s Day/Book Day (El día de los niños/El día de los libros) which is observed annually on April 30th to emphasize the importance of literacy for children of all backgrounds. Founder Pat Mora’s fun text coupled with Rafael López’s colourful and lively illustrations make this picture book a hit for story time. Includes a letter from the author and suggestions for celebrating Children’s Day /Book Day. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

2011 Author Award Winner

The Dreamer
by Pam Munoz Ryan

Pura Belpré Award Winners: The Dreamer

Inspired by poet Pablo Neruda’s childhood, this middle-grade novel tells the story of young Neftali who hears the call of a mysterious voice. Despite being ridiculed, he knows he must follow it. Award-winning The Dreamer takes the reader on a magical journey through the lush rainforest, wild sea and persistent Chilean rain to the source of the voice. Includes some of Neruda’s poetry. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

2011 Illustrator Award Winner

Grandma’s Gift
by Eric Velasquez

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Grandma's Gift

After preparing their traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebration, Eric and his grandmother visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Eric is fascinated by a painting by Diego Velasquez and wonders whether he could be an artist one day. Later, Grandma gives him the perfect Christmas gift: A set of paints. Based on the author’s childhood memories, Grandma’s Gift is a heart-warming story about self-discovery and the special bond between a grandparent and grandchild. Velasquez’s rich paintings add to the warm feel of this book. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

2012 Author Award Winner  

Under the Mesquite
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

“En los Estados Unidos / I trained my tongue / and twisted syllables / to form words / that sounded hollow, / like the rain at midnight / dripping into tin pails / through the thatched roof / of our abuelita’s house.” Lupita is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother who has been diagnosed with cancer. High school, friendships, and being in a play are all suddenly less important. All Lupita wants is to save her mother’s life. Under The Mesquite is a heartfelt free-verse novel about a Mexican American teenager coping with loss and adult responsibilities. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2012 Illustrator Award Winner

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
by Duncan Tonatiuh

This charming picture book shows Diego Rivera as a young, mischievous boy who loved to draw. Growing up he followed his passion for art and became one of the world’s most famous painters. Diego Rivera is an inspiring introduction to Rivera’s work, beautifully illustrated by the author. Tonatiuh also encourages readers to think about what Rivera would paint today, how his paintings would reflect today’s culture. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

 2013 Author Award Winner  

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

When Aristotle and Dante first meet in the summer of 1987, the two teenagers don’t seem to have much in common. Dante is very sure of himself, whereas Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe follows the back-and-forth of the two teenagers’ developing relationship over the course of a year. At the heart of this thought-provoking novel are the themes of family, cultural and sexual identity. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2013 Illustrator Award Winner

Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
by Gary D. Schmidt 

This stunningly illustrated picture book tells the story of the first black saint of the Americas. Martin de Porres was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a former African Peruvian slave. His mother begged the church fathers to allow him into the priesthood but they only accepted him as a servant boy. When Martin started to perform miracles, he soon became known as the “mulatto boy with healing hands” who gave first to the people of the barrios. Martin was made a saint in 1962. David Diaz’ expressive paintings complement the touching story of Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert beautifully.  ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

 2014 Author Award Winner  

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
by Meg Medina

Piddy Sanchez finds herself the target of a bully at her new school. With her white skin, good grades, and no accent, Piddy isn’t Latin enough for Yaqui Delgado. Piddy isn’t too worried about Yaqui’s threats at first. She is more concerned with finding out more about her absent father and balancing her honours courses with her weekend job. But then the bullying escalates… Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a heartfelt novel about a Latina teen who discovers resources she never knew she had. ~ Hispanic – High School 

2014 Illustrator Award Winner

Niño Wrestles the World
by Yuyi Morales

Zok! Slish! Bloop! Krunch! One by one, little Niño defeats the Mummy of Guanajuato, the stone Olmec Head, La Llorona, the Alien, and the devil-like El Chamuco. But when his younger sisters wake up from their naps, he faces his biggest challenge yet: Las Hermanitas! Niño Wrestles the World is a cute cartoon-like lucha libre story, brought to life by Morales’ unique illustrations. Includes information about the lucha libre culture in Mexico. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

 2015 Author Award Winner  

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
by Marjorie Agosin

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: I Lived On Butterfly Hill

11-year-old Celeste lives a peaceful life among family, friends and neighbours in the idyllic seaside town of Valparaiso, Chile. But her world is turned upside down when warships arrive, and classmates start disappearing without an explanation. Celeste doesn’t quite understand but she knows that no one is safe anymore. Her parents have to go into hiding and send Celeste to America to protect her. Based on true events during Pinochet’s dictatorship, I Lived on Butterfly Hill is a heart-rending historical fiction novel about exile and reunification, loss and hope. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

2015 Illustrator Award Winner

Viva Frida
by Yuyi Morales

“I feel / And create / And so… / I live!” Distinguished author and illustrator Yuyi Morales illuminates Frida Kahlo’s life and work in this unique picture book biography. With minimal text and culture-rich mixed-media illustrations – created with puppets, paintings and digital elements – bilingual Frida is a beautiful homage to the famous Mexican painter. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

2016 Author Award Winner  

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
by Margarita Engle

2016 Américas Award winning Children's Books: Enchanted Air

Margarita is a girl between two worlds. Feeling lonely in noisy Los Angeles, she longs for the idyllic island of Cuba, her mother’s home country. Her worlds collide when tensions between Cuba and the United States erupt at the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Will she ever be able to visit her beloved island again? Multi-award-winning Enchanted Air is Engle’s deeply personal and hauntingly beautiful memoir-in-verse. ~ Hispanic – High School

2016 Illustrator Award Winner

Drum Dream Girl
by Margarita Engle

Multicultural Children’s Books – Elementary School: Drum Dream Girl

Based on the life of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, Drum Dream Girl tells the story of a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo of female drumming. Dreaming of pounding congas and tapping bongós, little Millo practices in secret and eventually becomes the first well-known female drummer in Cuba. With Rafael López’s vibrant and detailed illustrations in acrylic paint on wood, this is an inspiring children’s book about a young girl’s determination to make her dream come true. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

For a more in-depth review of this book, go to: Multicultural Book of the Month: Drum Dream Girl

2017 Author Award Winner  

Juana and Lucas
by Juana Medina

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Juana & Lucas

Spunky little Juana loves drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and most of all her dog Lucas. What she doesn’t like is wearing her itchy school uniform, solving math problems, going to dance class and most of all learning English. It is only when her grandparents tell her about an upcoming special trip that Juana starts to think that maybe learning English could be useful after all. The first book of a new series, humourous Juana & Lucas with its endearing main character is sure to win over the hearts of young readers everywhere. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

2017 Illustrator Award Winner

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth
by Cathy Camper

Pura Belpré Award Winners: Lowriders to the Center of the Earth

This sequel to Lowriders in Space brings back the lovable car-repairing trio Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, and El Chavo Octopus. When their cat Genie goes missing, the search leads them to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the Underworld, who is keeping Genie prisoner. With Raul the Third’s intricate artwork, an action-packed storyline, and cool Spanish phrases throughout, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth is a graphic novel that even reluctant readers will love.  ~ Hispanic – Elementary School, Middle School

2018 Author Award Winner

Lucky Broken Girl
by Ruth Behar

Newly arrived in the U.S. from Cuba in the 1960’s, Ruthie Mizrahi is confined to a full-body cast after a life-changing accident. With the support of her Cuban-Jewish family and a diverse group of neighbours, the fifth-grader finds the strength to heal and grow. Based on the author’s childhood, Lucky Broken Girl is an unforgettable middle-grade novel that celebrates courage, resilience and the Latinx experience. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

2018 Illustrator Award Winner

La Princesa and the Peaby Juana Martinez-Neal

Set amid guinea pigs, stone arches, and fuzzy indigenous Peruvian textiles, La Princesa and the Pea is a charming bilingual version of the classic fairy tale with a mischievous twist. Juana Martinez-Neal’s vibrant illustrations incorporating cultural elements from the Peruvian village of Huilloc and the Colca Canyon make this a unique and exquisite book. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

2019 Author Award Winner  

The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The Poet X

Growing up in her Dominican community in Harlem, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But her deepest thoughts she only shares with her diary in the form of poems, like the frustration about her strict religious mother and her feelings for a classmate. When Xiomara is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she wants to attend but knows her mum would never allow her to. The Poet X is a powerful novel-in-verse about the struggles of a young Afro-Latina. ~ Hispanic – High School

Related: Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books

2019 Illustrator Award Winner 

by Yuyi Morales

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: Dreamers

In lyrical text and with the most beautiful illustrations, Dreamers tells Yuyi Morales’ own immigration story. She left almost everything behind in Mexico and came to the US with her infant son in 1994. What she brought with her though were her strength, her passion, her hopes and dreams…and her stories. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

2020 Author Award Winner

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
by Carlos Hernandez

New Multicultural Children's Books March 2019

When Sal Vidon and Gabi Real meet for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for allegedly putting a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker (that has since magically disappeared), and Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother– and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. Sal & Gabi Break The Universe is a hilarious and quirky novel that middle-graders won’t be able to put down. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 21 Multicultural Middle-Grade Novels for Summer Reading

2020 Illustrator Award Winner

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln
by Margarita Engle

As a little girl, Teresa loved to let her hands dance across the piano. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. When a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the U.S., Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few people spoke Spanish. And there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War. Still, Teresa kept playing and soon grew so famous that President Lincoln asked her to play at the White House. With soaring words and stunning illustrations, Dancing Hands tells the fascinating life story of Teresa Carreño. ~ Hispanic – Elementary School

Related: 55 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models

2021 Children’s Author Winner

Efrén Divided
by Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá is deported across the border to Tijuana, México. Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to take care of and try to reunite his family. Efrén Divided is a heartfelt book about family, hardship and deportation. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Multicultural 2021 ALA Award-Winning Children’s & YA Books

2021 Young Adult Author Winner

by Yamile Saied Méndez

Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. But the path ahead isn’t easy… Filled with authentic details of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action on the pitch, Furia is the powerful coming-of-age story. ~ Hispanic – High School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Young Adult Books of 2020

2021 Illustrator Award Winner

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
by Raúl the Third

Little Lobo is excited to take in a show with wrestling star El Toro in his bustling border town. After getting lunch orders from The Bull and his friends to help prepare for the event, Little Lobo takes readers on a tour of food trucks that sell his favourite foods, like quesadillas with red peppers and Mexican-Korean tacos. Jam-packed with fun details and things to see, Vamos! Let’s Go Eat is a glorious celebration of food little readers will love! ~ Hispanic – Preschool

Also available: ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2020

2022 Children’s Author Winner

The Last Cuentista
by Donna Barbara Higuera

NEW Multicultural Children's Books October 2021

Petra Peña wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra’s world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over, bent on erasing the sins of humanity’s past. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again? The Last Cuentista is a gripping journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021

2022 Young Adult Author Winner

How Moon Fuentez Fell In Love With The Universe
by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible. How Moon Fuentez Fell In Love With The Universe is an irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe while road tripping across the country. ~ Hispanic – High School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Young Adult Books of 2021

2022 Illustrator Award Winner

¡Vamos! Let’s Cross The Bridge
by Raúl the Third

People are always crossing the bridge for work, to visit family, or for play. Some going this way; others going that way; on foot and on bicycles, in cars and trucks. Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé drive their new truck carrying party supplies over the bridge with their pals El Toro and La Oink Oink. Everyoneveryone gets stuck and eventually comes together for an epic party on the bridge between two different countries. Vibrantly illustrated ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross The Bridge is a joyful story about coming together and celebrating community. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

Related: The 100 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2021

2023 Children’s Author Winner

by Claribel Ortega

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”. But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby―she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair. Frizzy is an empowering middle grade graphic novel about embracing who you are. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers // 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Hair & Skin

2023 Young Adult Author Winner

Burn Down, Rise Up
by Vincent Tirado

For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it until her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing. Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate and soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. If the girls want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart―or die trying. Burn Down, Rise Up is a thrilling queer action novel that readers will find hard to put down. ~ Hispanic – High School

Related: 75+ Multicultural LGBTQIA Books for Children & Teenagers

2022 Illustrator Award Winner

Where Wonder Grows
by Xelena González

Grandma knows that there is wondrous knowledge to be found everywhere you look. She takes her granddaughters to their special garden, and asks them to look over their collection of rocks, crystals, seashells, and meteorites to see what marvels they have to show. “They were here long before us and know so much more about our world than we ever will,” Grandma says. With dazzling illustrations and poetic text, Where Wonder Grows is the perfect book to encourage the children’s curiosity and cultivate an enthusiastic approach to learning. ~ Hispanic – Preschool

*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA by clicking on the book titles or covers*

2016 Américas Award-Winning Children’s Books

2016 Americas Award Winning Children's Books

More books with Hispanic characters:

Hispanic – Babies & Toddlers

Hispanic – Preschool

Hispanic – Elementary School

Hispanic – Middle School

Hispanic – High School

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8 Responses

  1. Leanna
    | Reply

    Great list as always! Thanks for linking up to Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

  2. Jodie
    | Reply

    I always love to see which books receive this award. I love the Vamos series so much so I was glad to see that book win this year.

  3. Lisa Lewis, MD
    | Reply

    What a great selection. I always love reviewing your finds!

  4. sarah
    | Reply

    What a wonderful collection of books, thanks for sharing.

  5. Gayle H Swift
    | Reply

    Wonderful collection!

  6. Marjorie (MWD)
    | Reply

    Wonderful – thank you!

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