Wednesday, June 26, 2019

2019 Newberry Award Acceptance- Meg Medina

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina.

Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren't going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what's going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.

To read the complete acceptance visit,

Good evening. Muy buenas noches.

I’m so happy to be with all of you here tonight, and to share this incredible moment on stage with Sophie [Blackall] and to help honor the enormous legacy of Walter Dean Myers. My deepest congratulations to all the winners and honorees of ALA awards this year, particularly to Veera [Hiranandani] and Catherine [Gilbert Murdock]. I’ve been working my way through the reading list that your works have provided, and I feel so honored to be celebrating with all of you.

It has been six months since I received my life-changing phone call, and in all that time I’ve been wondering what to say right now. I’ve decided what’s important to say about Merci Suárez Changes Gears and this lovely award can best be told by way of my personal bike history.

I’ve owned four bikes in my life.

The first one I got when I was about six. It was forest green and had training wheels, and it arrived as something of a miracle because it was a gift from my father, a man I didn’t remember at all. He and my mother had separated years earlier, when they were recently arrived from Cuba.

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