If you have been following us for a while, you know there is nothing I love to read more than a book that celebrates books — and if it also happens to be an amazing book about strong girls, even better! Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre, is one of those books! It is stunningly beautiful, and so very special. Check it out!
Planting Stories gave me chills the first time I read it. It is beautiful, inspiring, and one of those books you’ll love to read for the way it celebrates creativity, diversity, and the magic of story. If you are a parent or educator that can’t wait for the American Library Association awards to come out every year because you love hearing about the Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpre books, then you will love sharing Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre with your children!
Planting Stories is a stunning picture book biography by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar. It is the story of Pura Belpre, her arrival in the United States in the early 1920s, and her love for the hustle and bustle of New York City. When Belpre arrived in America, she took a job at a neighborhood library as a bilingual assistant. While working there, Belpre was surprised at the lack of any stories from her native Puerto Rico on the shelves. She thus began to spin unique tales for the children based on her hometown in Puerto Rico, infusing the neighborhood’s library with multicultural tales, diverse storytelling… and puppets! Belpre’s is a story of immigration, assimilation and ultimately great imagination as she became a prominent author of multicultural books for children. All the while, Belpre’s story imparts to children that you can achieve big dreams and great change when you persevere.
This book is exquisite, both in prose and illustration. The lyrical text seamlessly sprinkles Spanish words and phrases throughout the pages in a pitch perfect manner that is befitting for the woman who championed bilingual literature. It adds a rich, poetic component to the already melodic prose. The illustrations are lively and vibrant, and the story is a beautiful testament to Belpre’s dream of being like Johnny Appleseed and planting her story seeds across the land. With extensive backmatter that celebrates Belpre’s life and legacy, Planting Stories is a perfect story to add to your collection of books about strong girls, one your little book lovers will adore. Two trunks up for this beauty!
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Want the book? Get it here! Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre, by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar. *This is an affiliate link. Happily Ever Elephants received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own.