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The Stories I Read to the Children

The Stories I Read to the Children
The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré, the Legendary Storyteller, Children’s Author, and New York Public Librarian
Selected, Edited, and Biographical Introduction by Lisa Sánchez González

ISBN: 978-1-878483-80-5
$24.99 paper

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About the Author

Lisa Sánchez González lives in an enchanted forest, where she has recently finished writing a collection of short stories entitled Puerto Rican Folktales/Cuentos folclóricos puertorriqueños (2Leaf Press, forthcoming 2014). She is also the author of Boricua Literature: A Literary History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora (NYU Press, 2001) and a myriad of essays on American and Caribbean literary history. Sánchez studied Comparative Literature at UCLA (PhD 1995) and has taught at universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Brazil. She now works at the University of Connecticut, where she is Associate Professor of English.





The Stories I Read to the Children documents, for the very first time, Pura Belpré’s contributions to North American, Caribbean, and Latin American literary and library history. Thoroughly researched but clearly written, this study is scholarship that is also accessible to general readers, students, and teachers.

Pura Belpré (1899-1982) is one of the most important public intellectuals in the history of the Puerto Rican diaspora. A children’s librarian, author, folklorist, translator, storyteller, and puppeteer who began her career during the Harlem Renaissance and the formative decades of The New York Public Library, Belpré is also the earliest known Afro-Caribeña contributor to American literature.

In The Stories I Read to the Children, Lisa Sánchez González has collected, edited, and annotated over 40 of Belpré’s stories and essays, most of which have never been published. Her introduction to the volume is the most extensive study to date of Belpré’s life and writing.



“For too long, Belpré has been regarded as a “quiet pioneer” and I cannot think of a better way of bringing to light and celebrating her life and achievements than publishing, for the first time, a comprehensive volume that includes an insightful introduction and a selection of her essays and published and unpublished stories.” Edna Acosta-Belén, University at Albany, SUNY

“The Stories I Read to the Children provides a new way of reading children's literature through a gendered and cultural lens… Sánchez González provides the keys for reading and understanding the significance of Pura Belpre’s contributions to American literature and librarianship. She brings to life the passion that Belpre had for inspiring a love of reading in children.” Richard Chabran, University of Arizona

“The Stories I Read to Children is the most comprehensive work on the life and legacy of Pura Belpré… Belpré’s creative magic shines through the published and unpublished folktales included in this volume. These transport the reader into a child’s world of wonder where anything can, and usually does, happen.” Virginia Sánchez Korrol, Brooklyn College, CUNY