Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

For several months now (and on into the rest of this year), I’ve had the pleasure of traveling all over the country to talk to teachers, librarians and students about my books, especially Merci Suárez Changes Gears. What I haven’t been able to do enough is celebrate the Newbery with my local friends and family in Richmond. 

So, if you’re here in RVA or nearby, won’t you please join me and Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg on Saturday, May 25th at 11am at the lovely Libbie Mill Library?  I know it’s Memorial Day weekend, but I’d love to see you there before you head off to your barbeques so that we can have a chance to say hello. Bring along your copy of Merci and I’ll be happy to sign it for you!

And my thanks to Delegate VanValkenburg for House Joint Resolution No. 934 and the honor of his commending resolution in the Virginia Legislature. It means so much to me for my work to be honored in such a way. 

Libbie Mill Library

Location: Libbie Mill Library, 2100 Libbie Lake East St, Richmond, VA 23230

When:  Saturday, May 25, 2019

Time:  11 am

Free and open to the public

More info:  804 501-1940

Directions here

I took a ride downtown yesterday to In Your Ear Studios here in Richmond, VA, where I recorded my acceptance speech for the 2019 Newbery Award.  Hands down, this speech was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to shape into words. 

How do you properly thank everyone who has helped you along the way and still make it bearable for the audience?  

I’ll share the text when I’m allowed to. For now, though, know that I talked about… bikes and life and books. 

 

 

 

 

Sunny California, here I come. I’m in town for this weekend’s LA Times Festival of Books and I couldn’t be more excited.

Come say hello! Here’s where you can find me:

On Sunday at 11am I’ll be on a YA panel with friends and fabulous authors Ibi Zoboi and Elizabeth Acevedo:  “Young Adult Fiction: Writing the Real World, Conversation 2101.” We’ll be in the very good hands of Claudette S. McLinn, as moderator, who is the executive director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature.

Later that day, I’ll “change gears” (ha!) and chat with three wonderful authors Marie Cruz, Karyn Parsons, and Lisa Ramee for the “Middle Grade Fiction: Grown Up Challenges” panel at 1:30pm. My friend and Hamline MFA colleague Brandi Colbert will be our moderator.

Besides these panels, I can’t wait to meet up with fellow authors, librarians and, most of all, READERS! And, of course, enjoy some delicious California cuisine…

See you there!

I just spent a few days in Texas where I spoke at the San Antonio Book Festival, which is now in its seventh year. Bright 

and early on the first session, I spoke with librarian Viki Ash about Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

This time around, my husband came along, and we had a chance to do some sightseeing – a luxury that almost never occurs when I do author travel on a tight schedule.

750 foot Tower of the Americas with a revolving restaurant!

We visited the Riverwalk and the Tower of the Americas, which was just too tall for me, I’m sorry to say. We did catch an amazing storytelling event at The Moth as well as a cool laser light show that’s shown nightly for free at San Fernando Cathedral, a sort of 20-minute mini-history of the city. All in all, we ate too much good food and got well-earned blisters.

Javier and I at the Alamo

But the thing that I wasn’t prepared for was a chance to wrestle with in-your-face historical erasure.  Javier and I visited the San Alamo Mission because, well it was down the block, and “Remember the Alamo”, and all that. But in walking the beautiful grounds and reading the placards describing the “heroic last stand” against 1,800 Mexican troops during the Texas Revolution in 1836, I wondered about all of the history that seemed missing, a bloody history that eventually led to the lynching of people of Mexican descent at the hands of the Texas Rangers and other authorities.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m heading up to DC this week for three reasons: to see the cherry blossoms a week ahead of their peak bloom time; to have dinner with my son; and to be part of the Walter Awards, along with other book fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with literary agent Jennifer Laughran over on her podcast where she chats about all things kidlit with those of us in the industry. If you don’t subscribe, do so fast. Jennifer gathers publishing people from across the spectrum, so you get the benefit of understanding this business from multiple perspectives. For our segment, we talked about Merci Suárez and her family. We chatted about creativity and writing for kids of all ages. We touched on world-building in realistic fiction. I explained the importance of community for me especially in the world of social media. I made a few book recommendations, too, and of course, my dog and writing partner briefly joined the conversation. Happy Monday everyone!

My dog Hugo makes an appearance!

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All of this year’s ALA winners were asked to make a video about what it was like to get “the call.” You can watch them on ALSC’s YouTube channel. Here’s mine. Enjoy!

I had the hair-raising experience of being on BuzzFeed live for their #AM2DM program. I followed Corey Booker, who had smart ideas but somehow couldn’t name the ingredients in a Margarita. (Really, hermano? All that political know-how aside, how is that possible?) Anyway, they were merciful and kept my comments to Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Here’s the link of the whole segment. It’s about five or six minutes, I think. Read the rest of this entry »

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This week, I’m heading back to St. Paul, Minnesota (average temperature in February is 23.7 degrees F). This time I’ll be there for a community visit that has some unexpected ties right here to Virginia, where I live.

Last year, St. Paul reached out to me with the big news that my 2016 YA novel, Burn Baby Burnhad been adopted as part of its community-wide read through a program called Read Brave. Read the rest of this entry »