When writer and illustrator Yuyi Morales first moved to the United States, she and her infant son discovered their local library, which soon became a cherished haven and helped inspire her passion for children’s literature. Decades later, she shares a moving gratitude letter to a librarian who touched her life in a podcast and animated video from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
“Hola, Nancy. Do you remember me?” the letter begins. “I could never forget you.”
Morales goes on to describe feeling anxious and isolated when she and her son Kelly first visited the Western Addition Branch of San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), not yet knowing if they were truly welcome there. When a librarian named Nancy greeted them and issued a library card for Kelly, Morales began to realize that the library was a place her family could belong.
“Nancy, ever since the library became my home and books became my path for growth, you have been an amazing guardian,” Morales concludes. “Thank you.”
In the years since that life-changing day at SFPL, Morales has spent time with many more librarians. “Nancy, like many librarians I’ve gotten to meet, who are really my heroes, let you know that the library is for everybody,” she shares in the video.
Today, Morales’ picture books are available in libraries across the country. Her work writing and illustrating has earned her six Pura Belpré Awards, given by librarians to outstanding Latino/Latina authors. Most recently, her autobiographical picture book Dreamers won the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.