On January 23, the Children’s Book Committee (CBC) at Bank Street College of Education announced the recipients of its Best Spanish Language Picture Book Award/Premio, Mejor Libro Infantil in recognition of outstanding children’s books published or translated in Spanish.
Presented biennially, the award winners are selected by the Spanish Language Affiliate of the CBC, which includes Spanish-speaking members of the committee; Bank Street alumni, faculty, and staff; and others who began the selection process by reviewing titles for its Best Children’s Picture Books of the Year in Spanish annual list. This year’s award honors exceptional 2022 and 2023 titles that provide greater insight into Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, or Latinx culture in the United States and are culturally authentic in text and artwork.
“Bank Street is proud to present our Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards to help parents, educators, and librarians select high-quality titles in Spanish for children that are captivating and transformative,” said Cynthia Weill, Director, Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. “Our award winners were selected for their ability to engage young readers through rich language and vibrant illustration, as well as for accurately portraying the experiences of the Spanish-speaking world, fostering a love for reading and cultural understanding.”
This year, La guardiana de la libreta: Una historia de bondad desde la frontera/The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border written by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora, and translated by Juan Vicario received the gold medal. The inspiring story based on true events follows a mother and daughter as they arrive at the US border from Mexico and meet the Notebook Keeper, a refugee who transcribes the names of families seeking asylum.
The committee noted the book’s powerful message—that kindness can exist anywhere—and said that it “makes the experience at the border meaningful and accessible for children, as well as exemplifies an act of humanity under severe distress.”
Several other excellent books received silver medals for the Best Spanish Language Picture Book Award, including Los coquíes aún cantan: Un cuento sobre hogar, esperanza y reconstrucción/The Coquíes Still Sing: A Story of Home, Hope, and Rebuilding by Karina Nicole González, illustrated by Krystal Quiles, translated by Amparo Ortiz; Cultivando a un artista: La historia de un jardinero paisajista y su hijo/Growing an Artist: The History of a Landscaper and His Son by John Parra, translated by Adriana Domínguez; and Martina tiene muchas tías/Martina Has Too Many Tías by Emma Otheguy; illustrated by Sara Palacios; translated by Emily Carrero Mustelier.
“The award selection was such a joyful process with our judges sharing their own cultural connections and the ways they would use the books in their classrooms and libraries,” said Susie Ríos, teacher, Bank Street School for Children, and member, Children’s Book Committee, who served as moderator of the award jury. “Children love to learn about unfamiliar cultures and share their own culture and experiences. In these award books, children will see themselves in ways that they may have not seen themselves before.”
To celebrate the awards, recordings of acceptance speeches by the gold and silver medalists will be available in February at bankstreet.edu/best-spanish-book.
The Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards will be announced every two years. Books published in 2024 and 2025 may be submitted for consideration for the next awards taking place in 2026.