cover image The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos

The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos

Lulu Delacre, Lucia M. Gonzalez, , illus. by Lulu Delacre. . Children's Book Press, $16.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-89239-222-3

Introducing Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian hired by the New York Public Library system, this warmhearted Spanish/English bilingual story adopts the perspectives of two children who are inspired by Belpré to enter a library for the very first time. During a cold, Depression-era winter, Belpré organizes the community to hold a Three Kings' Day festival at the library. In telling the story, González livens the English text with a sprinkling of Spanish words, and chooses facts of interest to children, but streamlines biographical details so that she can focus on the characters. Delacre's inviting oil and collage illustrations cleverly incorporate sepia-toned clippings from a January 6, 1930, New York Times , turning them into architectural elements, books, furniture, etc. With this simple and affectionate story, González and Delacre (both winners of the ALA's Pura Belpré Honor Medal) broadcast Belpré's welcome message to new generations of immigrants—“Remember, the library belongs to you all,” Belpré says. “We'll blow out the storyteller's candle, and your wish will come true.” Ages 4-8. (Apr.)