March 17, 2000

Memoir by Alma Flor Ada Wins Pura Belpré Award for Latino Writers

New York, NY — Alma Flor Ada, author of Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, has been awarded the Pura Belpré Award honoring Latino writers whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in a children's book. The American Library Association (ALA) announced the award at its annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, on January 17, 2000. Only one author and one illustrator receive the award every other year. The Pura Belpré Award is administered biennially by The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library Services to the Spanish Speaking. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian from the New York Public Library.

A heartwarming and loving portrayal of her childhood days in Cuba, Ada describes her deep friendship with a beloved dance teacher in Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba. Photographs enhance the diary-like portrayal of Ada's early years. "This collection, a companion volume to Ada's Where the Flame Trees Bloom, encourages children to discover the stories in their own lives and to celebrate the joys and struggles we all share no matter where or when we grew up," said Yolanda Bonitch, chair of the Pura Belpré Award Selection Committee. In 1978, as president of the International Association for Children's Literature in Spanish and Portu-guesse, Alma Flor Ada presented Pura Belpré with the Premio Periquillo award for her pioneering efforts as author and promoter of Latino Children's Literature in the United States. "It is very moving for me now to receive an award in Pura's name," said Ada.

Born in Camaguey, Cuba, Alma Flor Ada, is a professor of multicultural education at the University of San Francisco. She is a renowned author, translator, scholar, educator, storyteller and advocate for bilingual and multicultural education. Ada received a bachelor's degree from Universidad Central de Madrid in Spain and a master's degree and doctorate from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Alma Flor Ada is the author of more than 30 books for children in both English and in Spanish.

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