The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos

By Lucía González • Illustrated by Lulu Delacre
Lee & Low Books • 2012 • 32 pages
Paperback ($9.95)
ISBN: 978-0892392377
Ages 6-8

Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library (NYPL), was a pioneer, sharing stories in both English and Spanish with children in the United States.  In The Storyteller’s Candle, Hildamar is an immigrant child from Puerto Rico experiencing her first winter in New York.  Her whole family misses their island, and they miss the ways in which they celebrate El Día de los Reyes.  She wonders if the three kings can travel all they way to New York for this year’s celebration.

When Pura Belpré visits her class at school, Hildamar learns that they speak Spanish at the library, a place her family never before felt welcomed to visit.  When they finally do visit, they hear Pura tell stories of Puerto Rico by the velita de los cuentos.  She tells them that there will be a celebration for Three Kings’ Day, and the entire community rises to the occasion, contributing their skills to the celebration.  Together, they bring the warmth of Puerto Rico to the cold New York winter.

Read Related: My Big Sister/Mi hermana mayor

The gentle illustrations incorporate bits of real newspaper from January 6, 1930—the day of the actual Día de los Reyes celebration at NYPL.  The Storyteller’s Candle honors the importance of story and the storytellers who connect us to our culture as we make our way in new lands.  This title received numerous awards and honors for its exceptional quality, including prestigious Pura Belpré Honor awards for both narrative, and illustration.

Reviewed by Katie Cunningham, Library Professional and Blogger, ¡Es Divertido Hablar Dos Idiomas!