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

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  76 reviews
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 Belpré arrives in their classroom, the children b...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 28th 2008 by Children's Book Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 482)
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Betsy
We children’s librarians are used to picture books pandering to us. It’s common knowledge. If an author wants some easy library lovin’ they just whip up some kind of tale involving a heroic librarian in the hopes of instantaneous shelf space. The most blatant of these ( The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians I am SO looking at you!) leave horrible tastes in our mouths. Yet not every librarian-based picture book is a shameless sauntering hussy. Sometimes, and this is rare, but sometimes you get a b...more
Lisa Vegan
This is a bilingual book, and a fun way for me to brush up on my Spanish. It’s an inspiring historical fiction picture book for children about Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian to be hired by the New York Public Library, and this story takes place during the Great Depression.

The story is told in English and Spanish, each portion either on the same page one paragraph after the other or on facing pages. I thought it was a nice touch that in the English language sections there’s a littl...more
Kathryn
4.5 STARS

I loved "Storyteller's Candle"--just as Pura Belpré brought the warmth of Puerto Rico to a chilly New York City winter through her stories, this book brings a glowing love of storytelling, libraries and Puerto Rican culture. It was so sad to imagine the children walking past the library being told that there were no Spanish books or Spanish-speaking librarians so there was no point for them to go inside!!! Then, so marvelous to feel their delight when they learned that Ms. Belpré had ar...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Imagine not going in to the library because no one speaks your language! I enjoyed this story about Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian to be hired by the New York Public Library, and the impact she had on the Hispanic people, young and old, in the area. Not only did she provide books in Spanish, but she encouraged the revival of Hispanic community traditions that they had left behind in their native countries. I would like to read more about her life. What an inspiration!
Stephanie
What librarian doesn't love stories about the power of libraries and inspirational librarians?! This bilingual picture book highlights the work of Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library System. Shown through the eyes of a fictional family, it describes how Belpre welcomed the Spanish-speaking community into the library through stories and activities that acknowledged their cultural heritage. The illustrator incorporated pieces of a 1930 newspaper into her pa...more
Leane
"The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos" is a heart-warming story about the Puerto Rican children of New York City and their discovery of real-life Puerto Rican librarian Pura Belpre in the winter of 1929. Pura Belpre was New York City's very first Latina librarian. Using her love of stories, children, and her native culture, Belpre made a new home for Puerto Rican children-a place where they could speak their own language, hear their native stories, and feel welcomed and appreciated....more
Jaclyn Giordano
The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucia Gonzalez was the 2009 Pura Belpré Honor Book for Narratives. I gave this book five stars. This picture book is intended for readers from preschool to grade 3. This is the story of the public library in El Barrio in Manhattan and the way Pura Belpré opened up, brought to life, and welcomed many Puerto Rican immigrants into the wonderful world of books. The Puerto Rican culture, language, and spirit is captured as Pura Belpré lights her storyteller’s candle, blow...more
Dolly
This is a wonderful story about the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library system. The story describes how she went into the schools to reach out to all children, but especially the Spanish-speaking children who had come to New York with their families. She planned programs that reminded those from Puerto Rico of their life there and helped them to find Spanish language resources.

This book has a simple narrative that is printed on each page in both English and Spanish and i...more
Katie
This book was so significant to me because it taught me about how the Pura Belpre Award came to be. She was the first Latina American to be a public librarian. She opened up the library to children and adults who did not think they were welcome and who did not believe there were Spanish books available to them. Belpre’s kindness and openness led more and more Spanish speaking people visit the library and have a sense of community.
The illustrations were so cool. They included collage and the col...more
L11_Nick Mamula
A story that grips the imagination of a child and allows them to dream. Lucia Gonzalez does an excellent job of prompting the reader to imagine different wishes. In addition, the story is based around the theme that anything is possible. Gonzalez provides an excellent translation for both English and Spanish speakers, along with a glossary of terms and comprehension questions at the end of the story. It is clear that Gonzalez kept the intended audience in mind, and made sure to apply to their re...more
Q_Jill Burke
This is a story about Pura Belpre, who was the first Puerto Rican librarian hired at the New York Public Library. She was a great storyteller and helped children find their culture in a world so different than what they were accustomed. Many Puerto Ricans came to New York to find work and new opportunities. Most moved to an area called El Barrio north of Manhattan. They were not use to the cold weather and missed their island. They were surprised when Pura Belpre came to their school and told st...more
Brigida
Do you sometimes feel off kilter in a place foreign to you? Well, Hildamar and Santiago are definitely feeling such. They left with their parents from lovely Puerto Rico to New York's cold winters. Unfortunately, the language is a barrier from them going anywhere. Then, it all changed with a visit from Pura Belpre at their school. She delighted them with stories in Spanish and English. She told them to come visit the library. In turn, Hildamar and Santiago told their parents to come and the surp...more
Michelle Pegram
"The library is for everyone, la biblioteca es para todos," is the refrain of this dual language picture book about the impact of Pura Belpre on the Puerto Rica community in 1929 New York City. Hildamar and Santiago were initially told by their parents that the library was not for them. Then, Pura Belpre visited their class with puppets to tell stories. After they found out that they could go to the library and that there was a librarian who spoke Spanish, they convinced their families to go, wh...more
Samantha
This book was informative and very interesting. It tells the story of Bulpre and how she invited children and spanish speakers into the library. You can feel how powerful this invitation was for the children and the community. The story feels more like a story than a biography or informational book, which will helps pull you through the book.

I loved the illustrations because they we incredibly detailed, but stayed in the background subtly.
NS-Christine Johnson
This is the story of Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library system. Hildamar and her brother Santiago are spending their first winter in EL Barrio. As they pass by the beautiful library building, they ask their Titi Maria if they can go inside. She tells them that the people inside don't speak Spanish, and they can't speak English, so the three keep walking.

But that afternoon at school, the children were surprised to meet a librarian named Pura Belpre. She...more
Taneka
This book tells the story of two young children, Hildamar and Santiago, which have moved to New York City from the island of Puerto Rico in the 1930’s. The kids want to go to the library, but are told by an aunt that the library is not for them, because they don’t speak English. One day a woman comes to their school and invites them to the library, and she speaks Spanish. She invites the kids and the people of the community to celebrate Three Kings Day at the library. This book honors the legacy...more
Bethany
The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucia Gonzalez and illustrated by Lulu Delacre was published by Children’s Book Press in 2008. This bilingual text details the influence of Pura Belpre on the Puerto Rican community in Manhattan during the Great Depression. As the families try to cope with the winter weather in El Barrio, they long for the warm climate and warm community they remember from home. Pura Belpre serves as an ambassador for the library, showing the children during school presentations that...more
Romilia Human
Gonzalez, L. (2008). The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos . San Francisco: Children's Book Press.

Subgroup: The changes/struggles of being a new immigrant in the US

Genre: Informational

How it relates to the Latino cultural: Many children, as well as adults, struggle when they come to the United States. In this book, the children miss their home, Puerto Rico. The librarian helps them get acquainted and feel at home in New York. This book can portray the struggles and some of the change...more
Christine Turner
Pura Belpré honor book.

This is a picture book for older children. It is too long for our storytime programs.


Summary:
During the early days of the Great Depression, New York City's first Puerto Rican librarian, Pura Belpré, introduces the public library to immigrants living in El Barrio and hosts the neighborhood's first Three Kings' Day fiesta.

ubjects


Belpré, Pura -- Juvenile fiction.


Librarians -- Juvenile fiction.


Libraries -- Juvenile fiction


Libraries and immigrants -- Juvenile fiction.


Puerto R...more
Jayme Prisbell
The 2009 Pura Belpré Honor Book for Narrative Award, The Storyteller’s Candle, written by Lucia González, is an ode to the wonders of reading and the importance of community leadership. This bilingual picture book highlights the work of Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library System. Set during the Great Depression, Hildamar and Santiago are two young kids trying to adjust to the cold New York weather. Enjoying memories of their hometown in Puerto Rico, the c...more
Loren Max
The Storyteller’s Candle
By Lucia Gonzalez
Illustrations by Lulu Delacre
(Group 3 Latino)
I was not very impressed with the book when I read it. However, I was noticing that throughout the book in the illustrations it looked like there were newspaper clippings in the background. At first I thought the illustrator was using this to reinforce the concept of the book to encourage reading in children. However, at the end of the book it is explained that the artist used newspaper clippings in the illus...more
Aide Acuna
Main Characters: Pura Belpre , Hildamar and her cousin Santiago
Point of View: Narrator
Setting: Puerto Rican young kids then travel to New York
Plot: Young Puerto Rican immigrants traveled from Puerto Rico to New York. These students walk by the library everyday but are not able to go in because their families believe they won't learn anything since they only know how to speak Spanish and no English. One day a librarian comes to their school and tells the children to come to the library and there...more
Evelyn Chen
APA Citation
González, Lucía M.Delacre, Lulu. (2008) The storyteller's candle =La velita de los cuentos San Francisco, Calif. : Children's Book Press,

Reading Interest/Level: 1-3

Summary: Pura Belprae, the first Puerto Rican librarian hired by the New York Public Library system, introduces the public library to immigrants living in El Barrio. The community gather around to put on a Three Kings' Day show and festival.


Reflection:
This is the first picture book I recall reading that is bilingual! For...more
Paul Farbman
Apr 26, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Third Grade or bilingual children
Shelves: ch-11-latino
This story, told in English and Spanish, is about how Pura Belpre brought stories and access to the Public Library to children from Puerto Rico. It takes place during the Great Depression.

Actual pieces of a New York times Newspaper from January 6, 1930 are woven into the illustrations and relate to the story.

This book would be excellent to use with Spanish speaking children in the class or in a lesson about immigration and multiculturalism. I especially enjoyed reading the story in Spanish with...more
Marcia
The Storyteller’s Candle, a 2009 Pura Belpre Author Honor Book, is written by Lucia Gonzalez and illustrated by Lulu Delacre. It tells the story of Pura Belpre, New York’s first Latina librarian, and how she brought the magic of the public library to the children of El Barrio (“the neighborhood”) about 1929-1935. Pura Belpre’s storytimes were represented by a lit candle, a signature so to speak. She would tell stories in both Spanish and English. The book is written in the same fashion. The auth...more
James Govednik
Summary: Children uprooted from Puerto Rico and living in New York walk past the library. "'That's the library,' Titi Maria replied...."and the people in there don't speak Spanish.' And so it was that they never went inside." However, one day a woman from the library visits school, and she speaks Spanish! With the text presented in both Spanish and English, this book tells the story of a Pura Belpre, who was the first Puerto Rican hired by the New York Public Library System (there is a multicult...more
(NS)JenniferA
Lucia Gonzalez writes this heart-warming story about how one librarian unites a community of Puerto Ricans in New York City. The main characters, two Puerto Rican children named Hildamar and Santiago, are introduced to a special visitor at school. Her name is Pura Belpre and she enchants the children with her stories of Puerto Rican culture. With excitement, the children hurry home to tell their family and friends of the new spanish speaking librarian. Soon Pura Belpre organizes a celebration at...more
Marissa Garcia
This is the story of how Pura Belpre, New York Public Library's first Puerto Rican librarian, inspired Puerto Ricans new to the city to come together for a celebration of Puerto Rican Christmas customs at the library and showed the newcomers that the library belongs to them too.

This beautiful, warmly illustrated bilingual picture book is well written and inspiring. A bit longer on the text, it is more suited to the 5-9 set of young readers. Perfect for a tie in to non-fiction, perhaps with Comm...more
Marissa Garcia
This is the story of how Pura Belpre, New York Public Library's first Puerto Rican librarian, inspired Puerto Ricans new to the city to come together for a celebration of Puerto Rican Christmas customs at the library and showed the newcomers that the library belongs to them too.

This beautiful, warmly illustrated bilingual picture book is well written and inspiring. A bit longer on the text, it is more suited to the 5-9 set of young readers. Perfect for a tie in to non-fiction, perhaps with Comm...more
Marjorie
This book tells the fictional story of two Puerto Rican children who meet the real-life Pura Belpre, a Spanish speaking librarian at New York's Public Library in 1929. Far from their tropical island, all the people in El Barrio (the neighborhood) are missing the warmth and familiarity of their old home as the holidays approach. The children are thrilled to put on a play in the library for Three Kings' Day telling a common Spanish folktale about a mouse and a bug, and celebrating the special day...more
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Has fond memories of listening to storytellers while growing up in Cuba. Was previously a translator and is now a children's librarian, a storyteller, and a puppeteer. Lives in Miami Florida with her Venezuelan husband and their bilingual daughter, Anna.
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