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Children's Books Receive Belpré Award

Pam Muñoz Ryan's <i>The Dreamer</i> and Eric Velasquez's <i>Grandma's Gift</i> are 2011 winners

En español | The Dreamer, winner of the 2011 Pura Belpré Author Award, is a fantastical novel about a stuttering boy with a wandering imagination. He finds music in rain and muses about making friends with someone who's "not good at mathematics, either."

See also: Julia Alvarez's best-selling Tía Lola series.

Book cover of The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sis

Based on Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's boyhood, Pam Muñoz Ryan's book is "a masterpiece," says award committee member Ruth Tobar, that "gives Pablo Neruda to a new generation."

The prize recognizes children's books that celebrate the Latino experience.

The 2011 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award went to Grandma's Gift.

Based on visits to his grandmother's home in Spanish Harlem, Grandma's Gift, by author-illustrator Eric Velasquez, paints a rich panorama of Puerto Rican life — like making pasteles with banana leaves.

"I'd call it a love letter to his grandma and the barrio," says Ruth. "The depictions are so culturally right on."

You may also like: Young adult books for Latinos.

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