Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Posts tagged ‘latina writers’

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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My new book trailer: Mango, Abuela, and Me

film-clipart-dT8eGr6TeDo you need a book trailer? Plenty of authors will say no, but trailers are fun to make, even if you don’t have any visual art skills. The one below was made on i-movie, plain and simple. Personally, I like the exercise of distilling an entire book idea down to a minute or less.  It’s a visual “elevator pitch” and another way to get readers engaged in what’s coming.

Anyway, here’s the trailer for my next picture book, Mango, Abuela, and Me, due from Candlewick Press on August 25, 2015. Illustrated by the lovely Angela Dominguez.

Women’s Media Center Live

womens-media-center-wmc-live-with-robin-morgan-300webMy third grade art teacher was the first woman I ever knew to put “Ms.” before her name. I remember almost nothing about her except that astounding decision – and the fact that she let us dance to Helen Reddy’s  I Am Woman for our after school club performance. She was probably the first feminist I ever met, and thankfully she left an imprint on her little charges. A few years later, I was already reading my sister’s Ms. Magazines, and eventually I went on to a life that’s been about writing stories that in one way or another advocate for girls. Law

So this weekend, when I was featured on the Women’s Media Center Live podcast, I was thrilled. WMCL is a weekly broadcast out of DC. It’s a project of a larger initiative called the Women’s Media Center which was founded in 2005 by feminist icons Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan. What I like about the podcast is that the guests are widely varied, (Anita Hill, Jimmy Carter, just two quick examples). I also like that Robin Morgan tackles any thorny topic with grace and brains.

You can catch it every Saturday morning, but you can download episodes via i-tunes if you miss the 11 am EST stream. This week, Robin and I talked about lots of things: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, how librarians are truly the butt-kicking heroes,  Girls of Summer, REFORMA, and my favorite lists for finding pro-girl multicultural books. Check out Women’s Center Live on Facebook or twitter (@wmclive). Subscribe and enjoy!

Here’s the link to their archives.

See you at the Nat’l Book Festival!

poster_enlargeA quick post to say muchisimas gracias to the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, which will be part of the 2013 National Book Festival September 21 – 22. This year, the Foundation has selected Tía Isa Wants a Car to represent Virginia at the Pavilion of the States.  How’s THAT for a surprise?

Here’s the press release. [VFH Invited to National Book Festival.]

The National Book Festival will be held on the mall in Washington DC.  Free and open to the public…just a gigantic gathering of book lovers. I’ll be at the tent for a little while on Saturday enjoying the joyous mayhem. Otherwise, you’ll find me strolling around and catching some of my favorite authors. (That, and buying too many books, as usual!)  Amazing lineup, to be sure.

See you there!tia_isa

¡Verano! (Summer – the best time for book lovers)

With author Monika Shroder at LUCY conference

With author Monika Shröder at the LUCY conference on multicultural lit

A quick post today as I settle back from my amazing day celebrating multicultural lit at the LUCY conference at Old Dominion University. Looking forward to a busy first week of summer talking books, culture, and connection.

At the Girls of Summer launch with some of our favorite librarians and authors KP Madonia and Jeri Watts.

At the Girls of Summer launch with some of our favorite librarians and authors KP Madonia and Jeri Watts.

1.  Gigi Amateau and I continue to celebrate our Girls of Summer list. Our launch last week was a huge success with about 180 mothers, daughters, librarians, teachers, and all-around book lovers enjoying free ice cream, book talk, and a celebration of strong girls. Hope you are enjoying Tanita Davis’s Q & A this week. Looking ahead to Friday, 6/28 you’ll meet the fabulous Latina author Guadalupe Garcia McCall on our site. She’ll talk about winning the Pura Belpré prize for Under the Mesquite,  and how she found a way to tell a story based on one of her most painful challenges.

Latino Children's Summer Reading Program2.  For my Latino friends with kids, please check this out! A summer reading list for Latino readers from the blogging community. Latinas for Latino Literature provide book lists by age group, activities, and ideas for encouraging reading. Please follow them on Facebook, too, where you’ll see the growing community around Latinos, youth, and empowerment through reading.

shenandoah university badge3. I’ll be at the Shenandoah Children’s Literature Conference this Tuesday and Wednesday as part of “Heavy Medal,” celebrating children’s book authors who have won medals and prizes for their work. (Thank you Ezra Jack Keats committee! Your gift keeps on giving and opening doors.) So excited to travel to this beautiful part of the state and to see (and learn from) some old friends and new. I am bringing an empty suitcase so I can bring home more books from some of my heroes in the business. (Shhh. Don’t tell Javier.)  Here’s the head banger lineup.

4-300x904. Finally, on Thursday, July 27, I hope you’ll join me and my friends at James River Writers for  The Writing Show at its new location at The Camel Club, 1621 W. Broad (just after Allen). We’ll be talking marketing at all stages of your career, from you at the manuscript stage all the way to seasoned authors who tour. (Register here.) I hope what I can offer is another way to think about marketing besides “how can I sell my books.” (Lord, that could kill anybody’s spirit.) There’s a healthier way to grow into your role as author, and one that gives you more purpose in your community.

More soon!

Cariños de,

Meg

RJ Palacio and Me: Compassion Fans and old BFFs

In Flushing riding a bike that my father gave me

Me, in Flushing

You never forget your childhood best friends. There’s something sacred about that special someone who shared sleepovers and ran races in the school yard  just to see who was fastest. Or, as in my case, acted out Greek myths and enjoyed the mysteries of the Jew’s harp.

imagesThis Saturday, I have the extreme pleasure of reuniting with my grade school best friend,  RJ Palacio, whose lovely book WONDER, is a # 1 New York Times Bestseller and is on just about everyone’s favorite list.We’ll be at La Casa Azul, noon – 2 pm, to talk books, compassion, and friendship.

Raquel, Meg, and Patty

Just couldn’t resist doing the bunny ears. With Raquel and our friend, Patty, in my apartment. Queens, NY

Raquel and I grew up in Flushing, Queens, about a block from each other. We were in the same class and were generally inseparable, until middle school dispersed us and we lost touch for nearly 30 years. But Raquel and her family left an imprint on me that has lasted to this day. Her parents, Neli and Marco, extended affection and time my way like surrogate parents. When I think of my happiest days as a kid, I invariably think of our times together. Watching Neli comb out Raquel’s hair with the help of a dab of Breck cream conditioner; weekends feeding goats at the Catskills Game Farm; my first ride on roller coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure; and visiting Niagra Falls. All of those good times – and countless others – were with Raquel.

Yaqui_frontcoverfullIf anyone had told us all those years ago when we were  playing kickball that we’d be writing books, I’m not sure we’d have believed it. I would have bet that Raquel would have become a visual artist, her specialty being horses way back then.  She might have guessed theatre for me because I was, after all, a pretty good ghost in our sixth grade production of Fiddler on the Roof. But life has taken lots of turns for each of us, and here we are, two resilient girls who insisted on living the creative lives that always appealed to us. We ended up becoming wives, mothers, and authors of WONDER and YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS,  books about compassion in one way or another. Is there a reason we both came to this topic?  Is there a shared vision for what we think about books and kids? I suspect the answer is yes to both, but I’m sure we’re going to cover a lot of interesting ground.

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 9.03.50 PMJoin Meg and RJ Palacio at La Casa Azul this Saturday, May 18, 2013. Noon. La Casa Azul,  143 E. 103rd Street, New York, New York. (Between Lexington and Park Avenue.) No. 6 train to 103 St. stop

Meg’s next appearance:  SundayMay 19, 2013, 5 pm. Politics & Prose, Washington DC’s coolest indi bookstore, to sit on a panel about the history and future of picture books in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal. Moderated by Leonard Marcus. With Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Neal Porter, Chris Myers, Laura Vaccaro Seeger.

A symposium in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal

A symposium in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal

Happy Book Birthday: The Movie!

Well, it’s finally here. Pub day for YAQUI. Here’s a little movie to say thank you to all who helped make this book and send it out into the world. Thanks, Penelope Carrington for the amazing photography. (Click full screen to see all slide captions.)

Cariños de,
Meg

And we have lift-off!

It was amazing to look out and see the huge variety of people in the audience who came to talk about books and bullying at yesterday’s book launch for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Great questions, honest conversation, and a lot of love in the room. Thank you so much for coming to the celebration!

Click on the  word cloud title below for a tiny slide show that emerged from our I feel strongest when prompt. (Thanks AB Westrick for being the input goddess!)

Trey Hartt, Lauren Davis (The Conciliation Project);  ART 180 teen leaders (Jazmin, Jackson, Bre, Chris) and me.Thanks, Candlewick for the gift books!

Trey Hartt, Lauren Davis (The Conciliation Project); ART 180 teen leaders (Jazmin, Jackson, Bre, Chris) and me.
Thanks, Candlewick for the gift books!

I promised to give you the Resources for anti-bulllying, so here they are.  The document is full of unusual arts and community activities that give  young people a voice about their experiences. Film, art events and competitions, on-line communities, books…it’s a great peek at  new ways to look at an old problem. Maybe you will add you own innovations?

Finally, my heroes for the day: Trey Hartt and Lauren Davis of The Conciliation Project; the ART 180 teen leaders; Marlene, Betsy, “the Mikes”at ART 180;  panelists Allison Conyers of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and Paul Fleisher and Santa Sorenson of the Richmond Peace Education Center; Penelope Carrington for the photography; Gigi Amateau and Virginia Pye for the unglamorous job of food schlepping; bbgb tales for kids for the book sales; Candlewick Press for the gifts to the teens; and the amazing literary community here in Richmond.

Meg’s next appearances:  The Virginia Festival of the Book, March 20 – 24, 2013, Charlottesville, VA. 

Some music for Yaqui Delgado

Fania_All-StarsSo I’m putting the finishing touches on the launch events for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass which comes out next month. And because it takes hours to work out all the details, I’m listening to music that puts me in the mood.

Yaqui Delgado takes a shard of truth from my personal life. I wrote this novel white-knuckled some days, thinking back to when I was an early teen facing down a schoolyard bully. I was learning everything about everything back then: learning about lousy adults, learning what it meant to be a Latina, learning how to really take care of myself when others couldn’t. It was a scary time, but all these years later, I find myself thinking a lot about all I took away from that experience.

It was a Puerto Rican girl, Aida, I remember most. She lived upstairs, cut school, and had bad acne but a hot boyfriend nonetheless. More importantly, she taught me to salsa. Sometimes she gave parties in her hot apartment with Celia Cruz and the Fania All Stars (Johnny Pacheco, Hector LaVoe, etc) blasting out of her mother’s stereo until the walls shook. When I think back to that time in my life, the soundtrack belongs to those old masters.fania

So, here’s a little YouTube gem of the late Celia Cruz fronting the band in Africa. And then, a more recent piece by Celia – Sin Clave– to get you in the spirit via Cuban music that (like a tough girl) is driven by its own, unerring beat or clave.

Celia With Fania All Stars 1974

Sin Clave

March 2013

March 2013

YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS will be in stores March 26, 2013.  

Check here for reviews and info.

Check here for book launch event information

Claremont Elementary Spanish Immersion School: The Hope Tree Grows

Part of Claremont’s display for El Dia De Los Muertos

What a week! A nail-biter election that took me late into the night, and then up at 5 am (when it was still tan oscuro!) to get to Claremont Elementary School in Arlington, VA. (Thank you to Sherry Lord for inviting me!) Claremont is a funky Spanish Immersion school that’s going to do a version of the Hope Tree project as their fifth graders move on to middle school. Again, we’re asking, What is a hope you have for yourself?

Coolest trio ever

Such a pretty school, and the art is everywhere you look. I love these giant looming heads over the stage (inside one of those strange rooms called a cafetorium). They are César Chávez, Pocahontas, and Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.

Oh! And look at these urns in their lovely garden. I spotted them when I arrived. Hmmm…they are sitting near benches and empty trees. You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?

These two want some milagros hanging in the trees nearby…