Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Fiesta! 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award

On Sunday it was raining hard and I was hard at work multi-tasking my latest children's book and installing new shelves for my son Santiago's robot collection. The phone was ringing off the hook and I couldn't quite get there from the farthest part of the loft. Finally I connected with Lucia González calling me from the American Library Association with the incredible news that Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros had won the 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award. I need to express my thanks to Harper Collins for believing in the project and sincere appreciation to the ALSC committee for giving this very special book such a boost.

To say I admire the author Pat Mora is an understatement as her inspiring text featured Latino children inviting kids from other cultures to a book fiesta and linked this to a celebration of Children's Day. A big thanks to our visionary editor Adriana Dominguez who paired my work with Pat's writing and to Stephanie Bart-Horvath for design. Having served as co-chair of Read Across America I learned firsthand that reading really brings people from different cultures and paths of life together. It meant so much to me that this book was selected because children and books deserve to be connected.

Bravo to Julia Alvarez for her novel Return to Sender that examined the blurry line between American citizens and undocumented persons for winning the 2010 Pura Belpré Authors Award. I want to also give a serious tip of the hat to three exceptionally gifted fellow illustrators and friends David Diaz, Yuyi Morales and John Parra whose books were also selected by the committee this year as Belpré Honor Books. I really look forward to spending time with all of you and celebrating in Washington D.C. this June.

To read more about Book Fiesta and see the illustrations please visit my book blog by clicking here: Rafael López books