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Meg Medina

Awards and newsThe Writing Life
January 25, 2012

A Spot on the Amelia Bloomer Prize List

Today my whole day was brightened by finding out that Tía Isa Wants a Car won a spot on the 2012 Amelia Bloomer Prize list.  This is a list of best feminist books -- which I am so thrilled to say includes picture books for our youngest readers. Thank you to the committee for such an honor. Of all the happy things that have come my way as a result of this book, this is one that I am so proud of. Mil gracias, chicas...
Awards and newspicture book, middle grade, YAThe Writing Life
January 19, 2012

Charlotte Zolotow Award

A big thank you to the Charlotte Zolotow Prize committee for selecting Tía Isa Wants a Car as a highly commended book for 2011. I'm also happy to join in a standing ovation for this year's big winner, Patrick McDonnell, whose nifty picture book, Me … Jane is the 15th annual winner of the prize. The Charlotte Zolotow Award recognizes outstanding writing in a picture book. Thanks to Patrick's book, kids from birth to age seven can learn about the incredible life of Jane Goodall.
The Writing Life
December 7, 2011

Trailer for The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

Okay, friends. Steven Spielberg has been in town shooting for his Abe Lincoln film. Unfortunately, that means he's been too busy to make my book trailer. Ha! So, instead, I offer you my humble, homemade effort. The Girl who Could Silence the Wind, is my young adult novel due from Candlewick in March 2012. I'm so excited to see this project finally come together. Of all my  novels, this is the one that I wrote and re-wrote to the point that I almost lost hope. But here it is -- at last! If you're curious about how to make one of these mini-movie ads for your own book projects, here's how to get started on a Mac, using i-Movie or Garage Band. I recommend contacting Chris Cheng at SCBWI Australia for the specific, step-by-step directions on how to turn your laptop MAC into your own movie studio. (He gave a very worthwhile session at SCBWI a couple of years ago.) In a nutshell, I did this one by creating a Keynote slide presentation (just like Powerpoint, really.) I exported  the slide show to QuickTime and then used the movie as the movie track in a Garage Band podcast. For sound effects and music, I browsed the library available on Garage Band. All in all, not fancy, pero bueno, it was pretty fun. Thanks for watching, and please share this trailer with all your reading friends. Con muchos cariños Meg
picture book, middle grade, YAThe Writing Life
October 24, 2011

For my Holladay ES Peeps

So fun to visit Holladay ES this morning. They've been reading MILAGROS in the fourth grade and also TIA ISA in the second grade.  We ran out of time for questions, so as promised, I'm answering here. From grade 2: How did you get to be so good at writing? Practice, practice, and more practice. I took lots of writing classes in high school and in college. Even today, I will take a writing class to learn how to tell a story better. Best of all, I have a writing group where I share my work with author friends and get their advice.   How do you go about writing a book? I usually start with a good character who has one big problem to solve -- but that's all I know. I write for a few hours every day, and I always start my day by fixing what I wrote the day before. (Sometimes that means I throw it all out and start that work again!) Slowly, slowly -- chapter by chapter -- the story starts to take shape. One secret is that I usually rewrite the first chapter after I've finished writing the whole book. Why? I like the first chapter to give a good hint about everything that is going to happen in the rest of the book.  Since I don't know what's going to happen until the book is done, I have to go back and redo it.  What was your favorite book when you were…
The Writing Life
October 17, 2011

A Day at Marie Reed Elementary School

Last Thursday, I trekked up to DC to spend a day at Marie Reed Elementary School in Adams Morgan. Four years into my life as a published author and I've realized that I'd rather do a thousand school visits than a book signing, which for me are often skimpy on attendance. There's something about being around little people with no teeth that is much more satisfying. Marie Reed is a lovely school, if a little oddly appointed. (Partitions offer a reminder of the open education experiment of the 1960s.) Truly, if Christine Reuss, my host, hadn't been with me, I would never have found my way around. There's a surprise around every corner. They have a garden that Michelle Obama planted to help them attract butterflies, and they have murals of the late salsa goddess Celia Cruz (¡azucar!) and Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. The auditorium is an amphitheater. What I loved most about this little gem of a school, though, is that it offers both an English only and a dual language curriculum. This seems so much more sensible to me than trying to teach a language in middle school, when we all know that their tongues go thick and their courage, thin. To see an Asian kindergarten student rattling off “Asi Baila Juanito” like a native is about the loveliest thing I can imagine. I read to the students, told them about how I wrote Tia Isa Wants a Car and Milagros.Then I listened to their songs and dances,…
Latino LifeThe Writing Life
October 10, 2011

Sweet Endings

Whew!  We just finished the JRW Conference - two amazing days of friendship, good writing, and inspiration. My own high points were being on a panel with fabulous children's book authors Kathi Appelt and Troy Howell. Mermaids, dragons, revision, writing across age groups - we chatted about all of it.  I also reconnected with poetry thanks to Hermine Pinson, whose wisdom and calm drew me in completely. This year, the conference ended with a hilarious, nail-biting session of Pitchapalooza, where authors had a mic and 1 minute to pitch their novels to an agent panel. Two hundred people doing belly laughs and erupting into applause is a wonderful thing to experience. I was actually sad to see the conference end. But speaking of endings... We're also getting to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. I've been sharing recipes this month, so how about a sweet ending to our meals, too. Today, amigos, I bring you my flan recipe. Ingredientes 4 eggs 1 c whole milk 1 can evaporated milk 1 can condensed milk 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups of sugar (divide into 1/2 cup and 1 1/2 cups) Instrucciones Heat oven to 350 degrees In a pan, melt 1 1/2 cups of sugar. It will take about 5 - 7 minutes over medium heat. You want to stop at a light brown liquid. Remove from heat as soon as the last of the sugar dissolves. Pour into a bundt pan and coat all sides. In a blender:  eggs, all three milks, 1/2 c…
Adult booksLatino Lifepicture book, middle grade, YAThe Writing LifeWhat I'm reading
September 27, 2011

Latino reads for you

Last Saturday I did a Hispanic Heritage presentation at Richmond's Fountain Bookstore. Here is the list a couple of you have asked for. These are some of my favorite Latino reads, oldies and new releases, from picture books to adults. I could list dozens more, but here is a start. Feel free to add recommendations in the comments section. (P.S. Fountain had most of these titles on their shelves, so give them a call.) Picture books  Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales A poetic spanglish romp on Halloween night. Gorgeous illustrations. Fantastic bilingual vocabulary http://marisamontes.com and http://yuyimorales.com La Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha Vamos A farm maiden decides to make arroz con leche – rice pudding. Energetic, bilingual vocabulary, gorgeous illustrations. www.samanthavamos.com Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, by Carmen Agra Deedy Carmen is a storyteller of Cuban origins. Also the author of Growing Up Cuban in Decatur Georgia. This is a classic folktale about how to find the right mate in life. The illustrations are gorgeous and the text gets at kids funny bone. http://carmenagradeedy.com/ My Name is Gabriela by Monica Brown Brown presents a beautiful bilingual biography of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. In 1945, Mistral became the first Latin American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature. http://www.monicabrown.net Middle Grade  The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sis This middle grade novel is about the early life of poet Pablo Neruda. It is written in a style that parallels Neruda’s THE…
Latino Life
September 25, 2011

Moors and Christians

Our foodie celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month continues... ¡Ay  frijolito negro! No Cuban kitchen is without black beans of some kind. You can serve  them as soup, thicken and pour them over white rice, or...you can make moros con cristianos -- Moors and Christians. The name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Arab influence in Spain. In our house, we serve this dish at major holidays -- including Thanksgiving. Ingredientes bag of dry Goya black beans 3 C white long grain rice (Tío Ben brand is our favorite) 1 onion, finely chopped 1 green pepper, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, crushed 6 strips of bacon 2 bay leaves 1 T oregano salt 1 envelope of Sazón Accent sin Achote or 1/2 tsp of cumin a couple of splashes of red wine vinegar Pressure cooker or large pot Instrucciones Inspect and rinse bag of beans in a colander. Fry bacon strips and crumble. Remove from pan. Sautee vegetables in remaining bacon oil until onions are transparent. (Sorry cardiologists!) In a pressure cooker place rinsed beans, sauteed vegetables, vinegar, and 6 cups of water. Cover and pressure cook for 20 minutes after the steam starts spouting. When 20 minutes are up, remove cooker from stove and put it in the sink. Run cool water over the lid until the steam stops completely and it is safe to open. (If you don't have a pressure cooker (!que pena, chica!), simmer this mixture covered in your pot until the beans are soft but not mushy...maybe an…
The Writing Life
August 10, 2011

What a tough book can teach you

Well, we're back from the beach and feeling rested in a way that only a seaside vacation can provide. But this year, instead of coming home and feeling gloomy, I had a present waiting for me from my fabulous editor, Kate Fletcher. Ta-da! The galleys for The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind due out in March. I started writing this novel a few years ago, thinking it would be the story of  a girl named Sonia, a seasonal crab worker on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Originally, the title was Jaibera - which means "crab girl" in Spanish. If you know anything about crab picking, you know it's hard and dangerous work. The young women who pick crab these days are increasingly from other countries. They come to feed their families, but they miss home --  and they're vulnerable. My early manuscripts were met with very mixed results, and the truth is that I almost gave up on this book many times. Was it an adult book or YA? What was most exciting -- her life at home in her own country or her life here? And what about that little taxi-boy, Pancho, who kept snagging my attention? Was romance going to be part of this story? I think every book teaches the author something new. My first novel taught me to dare to be a writer. My picture book taught me to try new forms. This novel taught me to be fearless in revision and to have faith that a solution…
The Writing Life
June 1, 2011

Girls of Summer

It’s nearly 100 degrees in Richmond, and my air conditioner is broken. It’s going to take a lot to make me happy this week, folks. So, thank God for a project I’ve been working on with my friend and fellow Candlewick author, Gigi Amateau.  It’s called Girls of Summer, and it’s our own answer to those official summer reading lists that used to suck the joy out of reading for both of us. How we kept reading, we'll never know. If you’re not familiar with our stuff, you should know that Gigi and I both write about strong girls. Hers are southern, mine Latina – but we write about tough cookies, and it turns out, those are the same the world over. This summer, as our own beautiful daughters are graduating from high school, we’ve decided to celebrate girl power through the thing we love most: writing. Here’s a little taste of what we have in mind via a Mac-made trailer. (Thank you Chris Cheng at SCBWI for teaching me how!) But you'll have to be patient. We're still putting the finishing touches on things. In the next few weeks, we’ll roll out the blog with our selections and why we like them. We hope you'll comment, read interviews with the authors and enjoy hearing snippets of work. Then on July 28, 2011 we’ll feature the list as part of James River Writers’ July Writing Show in Richmond, VA.  You'll be able to hang out with librarians, teachers, kids, and writers -- and…