An enchanting glimpse into the verve and creativity of Pura Belpré, who introduced the first mainstream published Latinx stories to the U.S.. Set in 1920s New York City, this book is suffused with a sense of warm nostalgia; Escobar's hypnotically detailed illustrations are the kind that make you wish you could climb into the page. A beautiful testament to the vitality of storytelling, this homage to Belpré's “story seeds” is sure to capture the imagination.
*Indie Next List Pick*
*Junior Library Guild Selection*
“An appealing tribute and successful remedy to the lack of titles about the groundbreaking librarian…a must-have for all libraries.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.
Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included.
A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available.
“Anika Aldamuy Denise’s intimate telling captures the magical, folk-tale feeling of Belpré’s own stories. Her lyrical text, sprinkled like fairy dust with Spanish words, begs to be read aloud, while Paola Escobar’s stylishly detailed and warmly expressive illustrations capture the joy of sharing stories.” –New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Anika Aldamuy Denise, is the celebrated author of many picture books, including Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré; Starring Carmen!; Lights, Camera, Carmen!; and Monster Trucks. A tradition she began with her oldest daughter—of leaving short poems and love notes for each other to find—inspired her book The Love Letter. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, three children, and a very lovey kitty named Charlie. Visit Anika online at www.anikadenise.com.
Paola Escobar, the illustrator of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré,grew up traveling from town to town in Colombia. From a very young age she liked to draw the stories her grandmother Clara told about her ancestors, the countryside, and animals. Today, Paola is an illustrator who is passionate about telling stories of her own, having published with SM Spain, Planeta, Norma, and more. She lives very happily in Bogotá, Colombia, with her husband and their dog, Flora.
“An appealing tribute and successful remedy to the lack of titles about the groundbreaking librarian…a must-have for all libraries.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Anika Aldamuy Denise’s intimate telling captures the magical, folk-tale feeling of Belpré’s own stories. Her lyrical text, sprinkled like fairy dust with Spanish words, begs to be read aloud, while Paola Escobar’s stylishly detailed and warmly expressive illustrations capture the joy of sharing stories.” — New York Times Book Review
“Denise and Escobar pay tribute to the legacy of librarian Pura Belpré in this vibrant picture-book biography…Planting Stories is a glossy immigration tale of dreams coming true, and the lyrical language lends itself to being read aloud.” — ALA Booklist
“Belpré’s story is told in rhythmic language with a good dose of Spanish sprinkled throughout. Escobar’s vibrant illustrations are filled with details that help bring to life the story of this remarkable librarian.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Denise plants an idea of her own—that telling stories is a crucial activity for keeping culture alive.” — Publishers Weekly
“Denise’s descriptive language moves between English and Spanish seamlessly, without italics used or translations needed, and portrays a lively Pura…Expressive digital illustrations in earthy colors portray warm and radiant characters.” — The Horn Book
“[A] delightfully informative title.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The story is beautiful to look at and to read, and it showcases one of the first people to recognize the need for young readers to have books that reflected who they are.” — NBCNews.com
“This excellent read-aloud, with its informative author’s note and bibliographic resources… will likely inspire young readers to create their own tales to share with others.” — Shelf Awareness
“Pura Belpré led a rich life filled with travel, music, and countless stories. Her own inspiring story is beautifully presented in this perfect picture book…. The influence of her work is still felt today, and Planting Stories is a worthy tribute.” — Shelf Awareness
“The arc of Belpré’s life and legacy is shown in a way that recalls the emotionally gripping opening sequence from the movie Up as words and pictures combine powerfully to convey the impact of Belpré’s work.” — BookPage
“A reverent tribute to a groundbreaking librarian.” — Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
“A lively narrative perfect for reading aloud.” — Cooperative Children’s Book Center
“This lush and colorful book celebrates Belpré’s life and legacy, and encourages young storytellers to keep sharing their tales with the world.” — A Mighty Girl
“Based on a true story, Planting Stories is both inspirational and a solid nod to follow your dreams.” — Reading Eagle
“With merry digital illustrations, this enchanting biography renders Belpré’s books as mirrors for Puerto Rican kids and as windows into her culture for everyone else.” — San Francisco Chronicle