Oh, What a Night! The First Biennial Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards in Spanish

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Cynthia S. Weill

Director of The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education opening the program festivities. 

On March 10th, I had the privilege of attending the first biennial Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards in Spanish given by The Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education (CBC). The 2020 prizes were given to books that were published or translated in 2018 and 2019, and selected by the CBC’s Spanish Language Affiliate (SLA), Bank Street College faculty and alumni, professors from City University, and by librarians from the New York Public Library. The books were judged on “cultural authenticity, richness of language and illustration, appeal to children as well as other criteria.” (Source: Event Program)

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Shael Polakow-Suransky, President of Bank Street College of Education

Shael Polakow-Suransky, President of Bank Street College of Education, emphasized the importance of having high quality Spanish texts for children, noting that 41% of NYC Public School students are from Latinx ancestry; 15% are from Spanish-speaking families; and that thousands of NYC children are currently receiving bilingual education services in over 500 dual language programs.

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Keynote Yuyi Morales

The incredible, Yuyi Morales, six-time winner of the Pura Belpré Award for Illustration, gave a moving keynote about her migration to the United States from Mexico, which ultimately became her book, Dreamers (2019). Not able to speak or read in English when she arrived in the U.S., her mother-in-law one day dropped her and her infant son at the library. And it was at the library where she not only found her new home but also her family. It is where she read stories about people just like her, written by people just like her, and for people who were just like her—immigrants.

Now, without further ado, the winners of 2020 Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards are:

Gold Medal

MI PAPI TIENE UNA MOTO / MY PAPI HAS A MOTORCYCLE

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by Isabel Quintero; Illustrated by Zeke Peña

Translator: Andrea Montejo

(Kokila, Penguin/Random House)

Silver Medals

¿DE DÓNDE ERES? / WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

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by Yamile Saied Méndez; Illustrated by Jaime Kim (Harper Collins Publishers)

SEMBRANDO HISTORIAS: PURA BELPRÉ: BIBLIOTECARIA Y NARRADORA DE CUENTOS / PLANTING STORIES: THE LIFE OF LIBRARIAN AND STORYTELLER PURA BELPRÉ

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by Anika Aldamuy Denise; Illustrated by Paola Escobar

Translated by Omayra Ortiz (Harper Collins Publishers)

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Anika Aldamuy Denise accepting her award. 

MARIO Y EL AGUJERO EN EL CIELO: CÓMO UN QUÍMICO SALVÓ NUESTRO PLANETA / MARIO AND THE HOLE IN THE SKY: HOW A CHEMIST SAVED OUR PLANET

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by Elizabeth Rusch; Illustrated by Teresa Martínez

Translated by Carlos E. Calvo (Charlesbridge Publishers)

2020 Honorable Mentions

SOÑADORES / DREAMERS by YuYi Morales (Holiday House)

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ALMA Y COMO OBTUVO SU NOMBRE / ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME

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by Juana Martinez Neal (Candlewick)

The program was recorded in its entirety by KidLit TV. 

Below are a few photographic highlights:

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The seal imprinted on the winning books was designed

twenty-five years ago and adapted by Lauren Linn. 

Muchas gracias to The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature for una noche increible.

4 comments on “Oh, What a Night! The First Biennial Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards in Spanish

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