About the Current Ambassador, Meg Medina
Medina, a Cuban-American, is the first author of Latina heritage to serve as National Ambassador in the program’s history. She succeeds Jason Reynolds, who served as the National Ambassador from 2020 through 2022.
Medina’s books examine how culture and identity intersect through the eyes of young people. Her middle-grade novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears, the first of three books in a trilogy about the Suárez family, received the 2019 Newbery Medal and was named a notable children’s book of the year by the New York Times Book Review. Her most recent picture book, Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, received multiple honors, including the 2021-2022 Charlotte Zolotow Award. Raised in Queens, New York, Medina now lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.
For her two-year term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Medina will engage readers across the country through her new platform ¡Cuéntame!: Let’s talk books. Inspired by the Spanish phrase that friends and families use when catching up with one another, ¡Cuéntame! encourages connection among families, classrooms, libraries and communities by talking about books—both books that reflect the readers’ lived experiences and those that expose readers to new perspectives.
“It’s an enormous honor to advocate for the reading and writing lives of our nation’s children and families,” Medina said. “I realize the responsibility is critical, but with the fine examples of previous ambassadors to guide me, I am eager to get started on my vision for this important work. More than anything, I want to make reading and story – sharing something that happens beyond classroom and library walls. I want to tap into books and stories as part of everyday life, with all of us coming to the table to share the tales that speak to us and that broaden our understanding of one another.”
“Es un gran honor recibir este nombramiento y tener esta oportunidad única para promover el mundo de la lectura y la escritura de los niños, jovenes y familias de este país. Soy conciente de que es una responsabilidad monumental, pero siguiendo el maravilloso ejemplo de los embajadores anteriores, lograré cumplir con mi propósito. Más que nada, lo que más deseo es que la lectura y el amor por contar historias forme parte del día a día de más y más jóvenes y que estas actividades transciendan el entorno escolar y las bibliotecas. Sueño con que el mundo de los libros nos una, expanda nuestros horizontes y nos ayude a entendendernos mejor.“
As National Ambassador, Medina will encourage families and young people to build relationships with their local libraries, and will create materials to introduce and connect readers with authors across a range of styles and genres. During in-person visits with students, Medina will discuss her work and host “book talks” with kids. Medina believes that when we talk about the books we enjoy with others, we share who we are as thinkers, as readers and as people in our families and communities.
Meg Medina is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Merci Suárez Changes Gears, which was followed by two more acclaimed books about the Suárez family: Merci Suárez Can’t Dance and Merci Suárez Plays It Cool. Her young adult novels include Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which won the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award and will be published in 2023 as a graphic novel illustrated by Mel Valentine Vargas; Burn Baby Burn, which was long-listed for the National Book Award; and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. She is also the author of picture books Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, Jumpstart’s 2020 Read for the Record selection; Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez; and Tía Isa Wants a Car, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award; and the biography for young readers She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Meg Medina es autora de alrededor de diecisiete libros infantiles y juveniles, entre ellos la trilogía sobre la familia Suárez: Merci Suárez se pone las pilas, Merci Suárez no sabe bailar y Merci Suárez actúa genial; y otras novelas adolescentes y libros infantiles ilustrados como Burn Baby Burn, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, Mango, Abuela y yo, Tía Isa quiere un carro y Yaqui Delgado quiere darte una paliza. Entre sus honores se incluyen el Premio de Autor Pura Belpré, la Medalla John Newberry, El Premio Inernacional del Libro Latino y la Medalla Ezra Jack Keats. Cuando no está escribiendo, trabaja en proyectos comunitarios en beneficio enfocados en las niñas, la juventud latina y la alfabetización. Hija de inmigrantes cubanos, Meg Medina creció en Queens, Nueva York, y actualmente vive en Richmond, Virginia.
The National Ambassador is selected for his or her contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens, and dedication to fostering children’s literacy in all forms. The selection, made by the Librarian of Congress, is based on recommendations from an independent committee comprising educators, librarians, booksellers, and children’s literature experts.
The 2023-2024 selection committee for the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature:
Learn more about the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program.
Meet Meg Medina and hear about her inspiring platform, "¡Cuéntame!: Let’s talk books"
Explore Meg's platform, ¡Cuéntame!: Let’s talk books
Find out where Meg Medina is traveling during her two year term and how you can submit a proposal.
Who were our past ambassadors and their platforms?