Pura Belpre became New York City’s first Latina librarian back in 1921. She noticed that there were no books for Latino kids on the shelves, so she decided to write them herself based on the Puerto Rican folktales she had heard as a child. Belpre made such an impact that the American Library Association named the highest honor for young adult writers and illustrators of Latino descent after her – the Pura Belpre Medal.
Reporter Alexandra Starr visited La Casa Azul, or The Blue House, the bookstore in East Harlem where Aurora Cerda, the bookstore’s founder, held a tribute to Belpre’s life.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Alexandra Fuenmayor Starr writes articles and produces radio stories, mostly about immigration and poverty. She was most recently an Emerson fellow at the New America Foundation. Starr lives in New York.