Meg Medina, an author with awards aplenty (all well-deserved!), is a first generation Cuban-American who grew up in Queens, New York. From her website we learn that “when she’s not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and/or literacy. She serves on the National Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is a faculty member of Hamline University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature.” Talk about helping her community! I was inspired to read some of her books, from the very first to most recent to get a good sense of her style and let me tell you, I loved every single one.
This was her first book and it gives off strong island of the blue dolphins vibe which is good, because I enjoyed it. The title character was a quintessential wild child, playing pranks, running through her mother’s fields, and acting up in school. She was just lucky/unlucky enough to be away when invaders attacked and she ended up being and only(kinda) survivor. Her escape had some help from unexpected sources. Falling asleep in a small boat she found herself many miles away when she awoke. She was taken in by a kind family who had a child that was jealous of the attention Milagros was getting. She did find a friend and it was nice to see some positivity in her life.
This won the Jack Ezra Keats Award and is an adorable picture book. The slight repetition at beginning of pages makes for fun pattern. It has lovely illustrations. It really speaks to the truth that a car is freedom.
This one (We also have it in Spanish!) shows a really good reason for having both English and Spanish together side by side in a book. It tells the story little girl wanting to communicate with her abuela who had just moved in from Cuba. Knowing how hard it is to learn a new language and understanding how much abuela misses her parrot, Mia adopts Mango who helps abuela learn the new words around her.
Another award! Now the Pura Belpré Award. It was a fantastic read and made me tear up! 100% relatable and believable characters which I really appreciated. A girl moved to a new school and somehow got on another girl’s wrong side. Can she make it through the mine field that is high school?
Now the Newbery Award. It was slightly heart-wrenching, it hit very close to home for me, but in a way that you can appreciate. Merci wonders why her Lolo (grandpa) is slowly acting more strange. No one will tell her what’s going on. Middle school is rough for her as a scholarship student and it can get overwhelming. Thank goodness for family and their love.
Bonus Interview Transcript here!