Fam, this is a book about Puerto Rican hxstory edited by a Boricua scholar and activist named Marilisa Jiménez Garcia. It’s published by “Teaching for Change” a DC non profit who focus on teaching the shit US hxstory books typically have ignored or left out. Growing up around a small but vocal community of Puerto Ricans here in the Bay Area and living in NYC I have always wanted to learn more about the struggle for a free Boriken (Puerto Rico) and some of its great figures. So for Women’s Hxstory month, Inktober, etc I have drawn some Puerto Ricans. Please share this educational opportunity to read, teach, and learn from this very detailed compilation of art, poetry, people, events, places, etc.
Shout to Marilisa and Teaching for Change for including some of my work in the book which you can see below. In the book they talk about Salsa, Bomba y Plena, Vejigantes, the island of Vieques, Hurricane Maria, US Colonialism, Afro Latin identity, the Puerto Rican diaspora, and so much more.
And it has been reused many times. This most recent one by a Latinx librarian in Oregon for a mock Pura Belpre award, which is pretty cool. If you didn’t know, every year the American Library Association gives out an award to Latinx illustrators or authors of new kid lit books and it is named after Pura for all of her amazing work in storytelling and literacy. Anyways, carry on. And visit McMinnville Public library.
Hey! If you are not a regular reader of “Latinxs in Kid Lit” please go check them out. They blog about new books, history, and up and coming writers/artists. This is my second time contributing to the blog. Above is an illustration I did of Pura Belpre for women’s history month this year. Please take a look and read the article. Here is my favorite quote from it: “Storytelling as a means of resisting and challenging oppressive dominant narratives.”
Pura Belpre was NYC’s first Puerto Rican librarian. She was a storyteller, educator, and a pioneer in library programming and learning for children. She was born in 1899 in Puerto Rico and came to the US in 1920. In 1921 she began working in the New York City public library system. She has been called a pioneer because of her outreach to the Latino community offering programming in spanish. She founded a mobile puppet company that went around the neighborhood performing her stories. She looked for and purchased books in spanish for the library when multicultural literature was not a thing. As a storyteller she brought stories from her country like “Perez y Martina” and shared them with the children uptown, while also translating them and publishing them in books for the first time. Because of the amazing work she did as an advocate for literacy and education in the community an award has been named in her honor by the American Library Association. I did not hear a single thing about Ms Belpre until I was in my 30’s. But, her dedication to engaging children and getting them to read inspires me. And I hope that more about her life is uncovered and that we as kids and adults learn about stories like hers. Check out the book “The Storyteller’s candle” and the documentary by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College called “Pura Belpre” https://vimeo.com/30837106
Sources: Wikipedia (website) and “Colorin Colorado” (blog)