Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

September 2018

Candlewick Press

HC: 978-0-7636-9049-6

Winner of the 2019 John Newbery Medal

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Merci Suárez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, she’s not exactly like the other kids at Seaward Pines because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. At home, Merci’s most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely and no one in her family will tell her anything about what’s going on with her grandfather. In a coming of age story that features family, friends, frenemies – and ripped off eyebrows – we look at the confusion and constant change that define middle school and the steadfast connection that defines family.

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“Pura Belpré–winning author Medina cruises into readers’ hearts with this luminous middle grade novel. A winning addition to any library’s shelves.”  (~School Library Journal, starred)

“Medina capably gets to the heart of middle school experiences in this engrossing story of a kid growing into herself. A must read.” (~Booklist, June 2018, starred)

“Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story” (~Kirkus July 15, 2018, starred)

Medina (Yaqui  Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, rev. 3/13; Burn Baby Burn, rev. 3/16) consistently and assuredly portrays Latinx girls and women who grapple with their insecurities while learning about themselves and their worlds, and middle-grade heroine Merci is a fine example. Accurate and natural use of Spanish words and sayings that fit each character’s tone builds authenticity. Medina writes with sincerity and humor to convey the experience of growing up in a close-knit family that tends to mingle too much in each other’s business while unfailingly and dedicatedly supporting and helping one another.” (The Horn Book Magazine, September-October 2018, starred)

Medina keeps the tone light as Merci’s take-charge personality helps her to succeed in this coming-of-age tale about family and the perils of sixth grade.” (~Publishers Weekly, Aug 3, 2018,, starred) 

Awards and distinctions: 

Winner, 2019 John Newbery Medal, American Library Association

School Library Journal Best Books 2018

A Charlotte Huck Honor Book 2018, NCTE

New York Public LIbrary’s Best Books 2018 

A Kirkus Best Books 2018 and KIRKUS PRIZE finalist 

A Publishers Weekly Best Books 2018 

A Horn Book Fanfare 2018 title

Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2018

Chicago Public Library Best Books 2018

Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature Best Books 2018

New York Times Book Review Kids’ Notables 2018

Boston Globe’s Best Children’s Books of 2018

2019 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People list  

People Magazine Best Books 2018

A Junior Library Guild Selection

A Southern Independent Booksellers 2018 Okra Pick!

“[Medina] layers the funny on top of the painful on top of the beautiful on top of the bewildering–and expresses the raw, sensitive nature of being. Merci and the Suárezes are supremely lovable and, while the book has a gratifying end, readers will surely want more time at Las Casitas.” (~Review and Q & A in Shelf Awareness)

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