The Storyteller's Candle = La velita de los cuentos
The Storyteller's Candle = La velita de los cuentos

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Annotation: During the early days of the Great Depression, New York City's first Puerto Rican librarian, Pura Belpre, introduces the public library to immigrants living in El Barrio and hosts the neighborhood's first Three Kings' Day fiesta.
Catalog Number: #24404
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2008
Illustrator: Delacre, Lulu,
Pages: 30 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-89239-222-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-18182-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-89239-222-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-18182-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2007027230
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: Spanish
Bilingual: Yes
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Hildamar and her cousin, Santiago, want to go to the library in Manhattan's El Barrio, but Titi Maria explains, "We don't speak English, and the people there don't speak Spanish." They are new Latino immigrants and times are hard in 1929, especially in winter, when sunny Puerto Rico seems very far away. But then librarian Pura Belpré comes to Hildamar's class. She invites everyone to the library, where they find Spanish stories, and the community comes together to celebrate Three Kings Day: "The reading room had become an island in the Caribbean." In this large-size, attractive bilingual picture book, Delacre's glowing oil-and-collage artwork depicts early scenes in sepia tones and later ones in lively color, expressing how strangers find a welcome that blends the two cultures in a way that enriches both. This is a warm, winning introduction to the work of the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York, whose name was given to the American Library Association's annual award that honors Latino authors and illustrators.
Kirkus Reviews
<p>The first Puerto Rican librarian hired by the New York Public Library was Pura Belpr, still renowned for her storytelling and her books of folktales. Set in 1929, this bilingual story follows two Puerto Rican children who live in Manhattan's El Barrio and discover their local branch library. Their immigrant parents can't believe that the library cares about its Spanish-speaking community, but Hildamar and her cousin Santiago lead the way after an outreach visit to their school by the Puerto Rican-born librarian. They join in happily as Belpr organizes a special Three Kings' Day event, complete with a play based on her famous story Prez and Martina (published in book form in 1932). The evening ends with the blowing out of "the storyteller's candle," a New York Public Library tradition. GonzAlez is a librarian, a bilingual storyteller and author, and the English and Spanish texts both read smoothly. The collage illustrations incorporate a sepia-toned oil-wash technique to give the pictures an older look. (author's notes, glossary) (Picture book. 6-9)</p>
School Library Journal
Gr 14 Two Pura Belpré Honor Award winners have created a moving portrait of New York City's first Puerto Rican librarian, a woman whose work has inspired generations of young people in the communities she served. It's 1929, and Hildamar, who arrived in northern Manhattan only a few months before, misses the warmth and holiday celebrations of Puerto Rico. At school, she meets Pura Belpré, who tells her class stories in Spanish and English, explains that the library belongs to everyone, and invites them to visit during winter vacation. Hildamar comes to hear Ms. Belpré's tales, see her puppets, and make wishes as she blows out the storyteller's candle. When she announces plans for a Three Kings' Day fiesta, the members of northern Manhattan's El Barrio help prepare for the event and discover at the library the comfort of their own language and memories of Puerto Rico. On January 6, 1930, the holiday is observed with sweets, music, and a play about a Spanish cockroach named Martina. The well-written text is presented in both Spanish and English. The illustrations were created with layers of oil washes and collage. Tantalizing bits of the New York Times from that date are embedded in the artwork, giving hints of the larger worldsteamship arrivals, theater reviews, and even an account of Three Kings' Day in San Juan. Sepia tones evoke the time period and the setting. A lovely offering about the role of librarians in the lives of children. Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

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%0D, 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%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%94%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9CRemember, the library belongs to you all,%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9D Belpré says. %C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9CWe'll blow out the storyteller's candle, and your wish will come true.%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9D Ages 4-8. (Apr.)%0D

Word Count: 1,557
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 119484 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q43836
Lexile: 730L

It is the winter of 1929, and cousins Hildamar and Santiago have just moved to enormous, chilly New York from their native Puerto Rico. As Three Kings' Day approaches, Hildamar and Santiago mourn the loss of their sunny home and wonder about their future in their adopted city. But when a storyteller and librarian named Pura Belpre arrives in their classroom, the children begin to understand just what a library can mean to a community. In this fitting tribute to a remarkable woman, Lucia Gonzalez and Lulu Delacre have captured the truly astounding effect that Belpre had on the city of New York."


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