Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Archive for the ‘The Writing Life’ Category

Coming Up: Sunny California for the L.A. Times Festival of 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!

San Antonio, Dr. Monica Muñoz Martinez, & historical erasure

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.

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The Walter Awards, Cherry Blossoms and Steak Frites

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. (more…)

A chat with Jennifer Laughran at a.k.a. Literaticast. Take a listen!

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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Meg’s ALSC Newbery Video

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!

The Theme of Last Week: Video!

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. (more…)

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Disco and Housing in St. Paul: A photojournal of my READ BRAVE trip

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Read Brave Write Brave: My upcoming visit to St. Paul

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. (more…)

SCBWI winter conference time

I’m rushing to type this and then head to the airport for the SCBWI winter conference, where I’ll have the privilege of introducing some winners of this year’s Golden Kite and Sid Fleischman Awards.  

I’m thinking back on my own career as I get ready to take this trip. I’m considering all the ways that I learned the ropes of the publishing business and how this organization was part of that journey. No organization can provide you with everything, but my membership with SCBWI was a first important step for me. It was my declaration, I think, that I was a writer. (more…)

It’s All a Blur: on winning the Newbery medal this week

First of all, thank you everyone for the joy you shared with me all week. Your calls, tweets, messages, emails, flowers, and presents have been so generous and loving. I don’t know how to explain the feeling of having you all behind me in this experience. Book friends, librarians, old students, my kids’ friends, teachers, former colleagues from past careers, people at the gym, our dog trainer, relatives – the list goes on. I wish my arms were big enough to throw around you all.  All I can really say is thank you for making the experience of winning the Newbery medal truly unforgettable. I hope I do you proud this year. (more…)