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Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
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Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Follow la vida y legado of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura 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 stories into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have g
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by HarperCollins
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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  223 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Laura Harrison
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The last few years have produced the most remarkable and exquisite children's literature biographies. Planting Stories is probably my favorite. Above all of the titles I have purchased and reviewed through the years. I haven't been this excited about a picture book since Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. Not only is the subject, Pura Belpre (heck-there is an important children's literature award named after her), incredibly important, the illustrations are some of the most detailed and beautiful that I ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pura Belpré Fans / Readers Looking for Engaging Picture-Book Biographies
Author Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrator Paola Escobar explore the life of celebrated storyteller, librarian and author Pura Belpré in this lovely new picture-book biography. The first Puerto Rican to work at the New York Public Library, Belpré hosted storytelling sessions in which she shared the folklore of her native island with young children, eventually going on to publish many of those tales. The Pura Belpré Award, which is given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing

More times than readers can count, they find answers in books to questions they haven't yet asked. Several years ago, in attendance at a storytelling class, it was suggested to begin and close a storytelling event with a candle or lamp. When the lamp is lit, the magic of storytelling starts. After the final tale is told, the flame is extinguished.

Listeners are asked to make three wishes; one for someone anywhere in the world who needs it, one for someone they love (including pets) and the final
Jillian Heise
A beautiful book with a beautiful story from about the life of Pura Belpre.
The fantastic story behind the wonderful and talented Puerto Rican native storyteller and librarian, Pura Belpré
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-ya
(3.5) I loved learning about Pura Belpré and her passion for sharing Puerto Rican stories with her community, and while the illustrations were lovely, they seemed a little flat to me on the page.
Rating: 5 Stars: ★★★★★
Planting Stories is a beautiful & heartwarming picture book that follows Pura Belpré when she moves from Puerto Rico to New York & continues to spread her love of stories! 📚✨

Not only is the art detailed and magnificent, but it also brings Belpré's story to life!

Belpré is an avid storyteller who grew up sharing the tales her abuela told her! So, now in New York, she finds her love of stories taking her on a journey to become a librarian (the 1st bilingual assistant)
Chance Lee
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story about a woman important to libraries, children's literature, and the art of storytelling. And my god the illustrations are electrifyingly good.
Amy Layton
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
This book was recommended to me by a fellow librarian, and given that it was just published, our academic library didn't yet have it.  And, considering our academic library serves a large community of library science students, I figured that we could get away with purchasing more resources about librarians.  So we did!  

Planting Stories is a beautiful, biographical tale about Pura Belpre who made space for herself and her culture in her library.  The focus is more on her work as a librarian rath
Katie Lawrence
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This was just wonderful! A perfect book to read at the beginning of a Belpré unit but also a wonderful biography about using your strengths, storytelling, culture and language to make a difference in your community. I loved the illustrations and learning about Pura Belpré. Made me proud to be a part of the profession!
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of picture book biography that belongs on any librarian’s shelves, not only because the illustrations (and endpapers!) are absolutely gorgeous, but because the story of Pura Belpre’s lasting impact on children’s librarianship and the Latinx community is both a wonder and an inspiration. My favorite picture book bio featuring a librarian to date!
Lisa Mcbroom
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspiring-books, nyc
Story of Pura Belpre who came from Puerto Rico to New York City and starts out at New York Public Library. Hence there she realizes there are no Puerto Rican stories so she becomes one of the top storytellers. Illustrations are colorful and bright!
J.D. Spero
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
By keeping alive the stories of her homeland, Pura Belpre touched the lives of so many. Well researched and from the heart, Denise plants seeds of her own with this inspiring story of an immigrant's gift to America's canon of multicultural storytelling. Escobar’s illustrations are elegant and as lush and vibrant as the language they bring to life. An important addition to ALL libraries—in town, in school, and at home.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
gorgeous illustrations
beautiful story
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The art is phenomenal. Wish the text weren't quite so vague.
Emma (Miss Print)
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good. Very beautifully illustrated. But a bit text heavy if I'm being honest.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Terrific pb bio of a storyteller, librarian, and puppeteer who brought Puerto Rican stories to the U.S. Lovely illustrations (and those endpapers!) and storytelling with a movement and cadence that brings Pura Belpre to life.
Tj Shay
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre is the rare biography-ish book that is so extremely interesting and packs enough facts intermixed with ideas that expand your thoughts about the person. Thinking of the amazing Pura as planting stories for future generations is a revelation.
Aliza Werner
Lush illustrations bring the warmth of Puerto Rico to the pages of this story of Pura Belpré, the first NYPL librarian from PR. The author and illustrator are both Latina #OwnVoices. One feature I loved most was all of the Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text. Using context clues, readers can figure out what those words translate to in English.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Add this to your to-read list (pub date is January 15th 2019.)

The life of famed Storyteller Pura Belpré is told fittingly in this bilingual nonfiction picture book- tracing her steps from her Puerto Rican homeland to the book-lined walls of the New York Public Library where she entertained patrons with stories and puppets. And when she couldn't find stories for the community she was serving, she wrote her own. Includes a timeline plus summaries of some of the stories she wrote.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once in a while, I come across a children's picture book that needs to be shared. This time, my friend, Donna, shared a copy of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. Author Anika Aldamuy Denise's flowing language goes hand-in-hand with the beautiful illustrations by Paola Escobar. This is the gorgeous story of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City, a storyteller, and the woman for whom the Pura Belpré Award was named, an award given to Lati ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For those who want their elementary age kids to read more non fiction - get this book. For this kids who love library story hours - get this book and donate it to your school librarian. Make packets of story seeds and grow their love for reading, character development and create a writers nook so that hour kids can create their own stories. Get this book- read it to as many children as you can- encourage them to talk about the books they like, love and even hate. Start this wonderful discussions ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I NEVER add picture books to my read list because I don't want to inflate my numbers, but I have to mark this book. The artwork alone is EVERYTHING. The story is EVERYTHING. The use of Spanish words that aren't English cognates is EVERYTHING. In the spirit of Pura Belpré, go read this book at your local library. Read her story to your children. Read it to someone else's children. Readit to yourself, just go check this book out.
Linda Quinn
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful picture book tells the story of Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library. She started working there as a bilingual assistant but soon began story-times that shared the stories of her homeland. When she realized there were no books of these folk tales for children to take and share she started writing them, planting seeds of her homeland that spread through generations.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the warm, detailed illustrations and learning about the life of the legendary librarian Pura Belpre. The same flowers that we see when she first encounters the library in illustrations appear when she shares the stories that she brings to life. I also liked that the Spanish words in the book were truly interwoven into the story - not written in italics, but flowed from English to Spanish as a person would really speak: "...who wish to remember la lengua y los colores of home."
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story is well told, and the art is good, and suitable, but somehow it doesn't quite seem to me to fully convey the spirit of Pura Belpré -- maybe because that spirit was itself so powerful, and I've heard so many stories and seen photos and so forth; my expectations may have been too high. Still a good addition to the library of children's books dealing with Puerto Rico-related topics, though.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book is gorgeous and amazing. I loved everything about it. The detail in the illustrations is wonderful, right down to the titles of the books in the story and the inside cover. It's such an important story of a pioneer in librarianship. A must read for librarians and library enthusiasts especially.
Wendy Garland
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pura Belpre was a champion for the under-represented in the NY Public Library. She saw needs and met them with her stories. Reading this book made me proud to be a librarian. The illustrations take me to the time period and make me want to sit at Pura's feet and soak in her passion for her homeland and her profession.
Joan Marie
The vibrant illustrations compliment the text that is peppered with Spanish.
Back matter includes the author's note and materials for further reading.
Kudos for this colorful biography about Pura Belpre who first shared her Latinx "story seeds" in the New York Public Library system and beyond!
Exquisitely detailed illustrations and lyrical text that smoothly incorporates Spanish vocabulary describe the inspiring and empowering true story of how Pura Belpre transformed the library landscape after moving to New York City from Puerto Rico in 1921.
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