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Merci Suárez se pone las pilas:  A Newbery Winner Gets Translated into Spanish

By October 12, 2020October 16th, 202018 Comments

Merci Suarez se pone las pilasI’ve had the good fortune of having most of my work made available in Spanish translation. Tomorrow Merci Suárez se pone las pilas comes into the world to join the others. The title literally means, “Merci Suárez puts in her batteries.” Funny, right? But that is the magic of translation, the ability to capture the spirit and heart of a work.

Photo credit: Valerie Block

It’s the first time I’ve worked with the fabulous Alexis Romay, who was hand-picked for the project by my former translator, the late Teresa Mlawer, whose long and storied career included translations of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon.

An author, translator, and teacher, Alexis brings to this work our shared Cuban roots. He also brings his quick sense of humor, warmth, and respect for young people. In so many ways, this translation is a physical representation of our bicultural lives. On every page, I could feel him channeling Merci and bringing her to life for me in the language I spoke with my mother. It was as if two parts of myself were being knit together with his guidance.

Here below is a video post by Alexis where he gives thanks to the many people who helped bring our book into the world. I especially love his explanation – about midway through – of why books in translations matter for children.

As part of our celebration, please leave a comment in the comments section, and I’ll enter you to win one of three prizes:



You can buy books and translations by Alexis Romay and find out more about him here. And be sure to check out my entire list of translated titles.

Remember to leave a comment (at the far bottom of this page) to be eligible for the giveaways!

Meg Medina

Author Meg Medina

I'm Meg Medina, author of libros for kids of all ages. I'm the 2019 Newbery medalist for Merci Suárez Changes Gears. I write strong girls, tough circumstances, and the connecting power of culture. Thanks for visiting my blog!

More posts by Meg Medina

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Kerri Poore says:

    I love this post so much! Thanks, Meg.

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi Kerri. I do, too. It’s such a pleasure to know your translator this way. I’ve been really lucky in this regard.

  • June Parrilli says:

    This was wonderful to watch. I work in a school with a very large hispanic population and I recently acquired a large number of popular books which have now been translated into Spanish and they are flying off the shelves! Super excited to add Merci Suarez (in Spanish…already have a few copies in English of course!) to our collection.
    I appreciated learning of the difficulty of translation and now understand why there are not more books in translation. I have been learning about the importance of having strong character representation in books that reflect the population of the reading audience and have been building up my collection to reflect that. My population is largely Guatemalan and Mexican and I am always seeking books featuring characters from those countries. They are difficult to find. If you know of any, please post or send along the names to me! Thanks. The Cuban and Puerto Rican books are a very good start, and certainly a huge step in the right direction however!
    Keep up the great work! We love your books here at Indiantown Middle School!

    • Meg Medina says:

      I’m glad you liked it! I would visit La Libreria on line. You can find them, along with other Latinx bookstores on a link in my extras tab. It was from an article that Latinx in Publishing put together.

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi June,

      I’m happy to tell you that you have won a free copy of Yaqui Delgado quiere darte una paliza. Can you please email me your address at and I will it out right away?


  • Rayanne Pirozzi says:

    It is always exciting to provide kids with books that they can relate to and see someone like them. Thank you for this work!

  • Amber Stivers-Anders says:

    Because 50% of my students come from Spanish-speaking households, I am constantly looking for titles for our libraries, in both Spanish and English, that represent them. The Spanish edition of Merci is already on my wishlist!

  • Olivia Santos says:

    Love it when authors translate their books to Spanish. Gives me more options to give my mom, so that she can enjoy the books I love. Would love a chance to win a copy for her. We need more books that share our culture and language!!

  • Kelly Silwani says:

    Thanks Meg for offering this book as a giveaway! Some of our students, with Spanish as their first language, asked me to create a collection of popular titles written in Spanish. I love when we have a new Spanish speaking ELL student, and I show them our collection. They always get a huge smile. I hope it makes them feel like they belong and that we care.

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi Kelly – Great use of Spanish language titles for ELL students. Thanks for dropping in a comment. Good luck during the drawing!

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Congratulations! And thanks for following my blogposts. Can you please email me your address at and I will send you a new copy of Evelyn Del Rey se muda.


  • Kelly Silwani says:

    Oh my goodness Meg! Thank you so very much! It was waiting for me when I got home today. I can’t wait to add it to our Spanish language collection and if it’s ok with you, I’m adding a book plate in the front of the book telling our students it’s from you, in Spanish. Thank you again.


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