Latina writer of books for kids of all ages.

Posts tagged ‘RJ Palacio’

Photo round-up of my post election travels

Hi all –

I’m heading to NCTE in Atlanta tomorrow, but my head is still buzzing from the election and all that it means for many of the vulnerable children and families that I meet in my life as an author.

In the days to come, I’ll especially need to remind myself to balance aggravation with joy.  So here is a bit from the joyful side. Yesterday,  Burn Baby Burn was named a Best Book of 2016 by School Library Journal and also by Amazon.

As you know, I was in NYC last week. My trip offered me really beautiful experiences at Bank Street College and also at the ever-fabulous Book Riot Live Conference, where people came from as far away as Australia and Sweden. I’ve pasted some of my favorite shots below – everything from political protest to utter joy and silliness.

Other than that, my friends, I’ll touch base with you again in a few weeks. Hide the knives if you have to and enjoy a peaceful Thanksgiving with your families.

Scenes from the Union Station subway station where citizens voiced their opposition

Scenes from the Union Station subway station where citizens voiced their opposition to the election results

The wall of sticky notes extended so long...

The wall of sticky notes extended so long…

Yes.

With RJ Palacio and Jennifer Brown, talking about childhood friendships and how they can lead to a literary life

With RJ Palacio and Jennifer Brown, talking about childhood friendships and how they can lead to a literary life

With Jennifer Brown and Dr. Cynthia Weill at Bank Street. Photo credit Cheryl Simon

With Jennifer Brown and Dr. Cynthia Weill at Bank Street. Photo credit Cheryl Simon

There are no friends like the ones we know and love from childhood. Photo credit: Cheryl Simon

There are no friends like the ones we know and love from childhood. Photo credit: Cheryl Simon

She found an old picture of us at Niagra Falls when we were 11. Photo credit: Cheryl Simon

She found an old picture of us at Niagra Falls when we were 11. Photo credit: Cheryl Simon

Where Raquel and I did our photo shoot for the New York Times

Where Raquel and I did our photo shoot for the New York Times on what has to have been the windiest day on record. Whew. I’ll let you know when the story runs.

My favorite guy at Book Riot

My favorite guy at Book Riot.

courtesy of Raquel Matos Stecher from Candlewick

courtesy of Raquel Matos Stecher from Candlewick

The Book Riot panel of librarians reminded me of the essential role the public library plays in our lives, now more than ever

The Book Riot panel of librarians reminded me of the essential role the public library plays in our lives, now more than ever

Kirkus, Book Riot, Bank Street and more: Keeping my sanity despite this election

kirkus-prize-2016-170x170I’m at the airport in Richmond right now, getting ready to head out to Austin for the Texas Book Festival, which is huge and wonderful as always.  I hadn’t been on the roster, but this year Burn Baby Burn is a finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Young People’s Literature. The ceremony where the winners are announced is tonight, so Kate Fletcher (my editor) and I are getting “gussied up” and heading over. Ay…I don’t know what to think about what’s going to happen; the whole idea makes me queasy. Whatever the result, though, I just want to say this: Thank you to everyone who has read my work and told others about it. You have so many good books to choose from on any given day, and I’m so grateful that you’ve given my work some space in your life and on your bookshelf.BurnBabyBurn_cvrSktch-7 copy 2

If you’re at the festival, I hope I’ll see you at the literary gala where we’ll be guests of my friend Maya Smart, a woman who is still sorely missed here in Richmond. I can only imagine a fun night because not only is there Maya, but the whole thing is being emceed by Jon Scieszka! If not at the gala, then maybe we can see each other on Saturday during the Kirkus finalist panel, where each author will talk about their book.

After Election Day, I’ll head to NYC for so many wonderful things. (Hopefully, I’ll be in good spirits.) I’ll be visiting Mamaroneck Public Schools, having dinner with donors who gave to the I, Too, Collective campaign which established Langston Hughes’ home in Harlem as a poetry and arts center for young people. (Renee Watson, you are a hero!)

raquel-and-meg-class-photos-1But also….I’ll be at Bank Street Street on Thursday, Nov 10 and Friday, Nov 11. On Thursday, my friend Raquel (R.J. Palacio) and I take the stage to talk about our friendship when we were little girls in Queens and how those experiences helped shape us into writers. We’ll be in the able hands of Jennifer Brown. On Friday, I lecture on my own work en español, a process that always makes me a little nervous. Public speaking is tricky enough, but in Spanish, I sometimes have to play hunt-and-peck for just the right words and phrases. In the big picture, though, it’s great to be able to talk about the books that are available in Spanish and to be introduced to the wonderful community at Bank Street.

headerstatictextThe week wraps up with an event I’ve been looking forward to for a solid year:  Book Riot Live!  Check out the lineup and the panelists. I hope you are already signed up for their wonderful newsletters and podcasts. The folks at BR are funny, smart, and edgy in the best sense of the word. You can count on meaty conversation, no matter what session you sit in on.

 

 

Ok, time to board. (And no, I will NOT give you my suitcase with the fancy dress and perfect shoes, madam…)

 

 

 

You’re Never Far From Your Story

Big milestone: At the end of the month, I will have been married to my husband, Javier, for 30 years. To celebrate, we planned what we both consider a once-in-a-lifetime family trip to Croatia, Italy, and Greece.

Thirty years. Holy moly. Here we are arriving in Croatia

Thirty years. Holy moly.
Here we are arriving in Croatia

My eyes and my heart and still full of the beautiful sites I took in, particularly Santorini, with its wide marble streets, the domed churches, and Bougainvillea vines along the windows. And, of course, I’m still full in other ways, too — mostly from my nearly constant visits to the pasticcerias and gelato stands. (I had NO IDEA that food could be this good.)

Javier in Oia (Santorini)  Marble sidewalks. The Mediterranean. Cave houses. Too beautiful for words.

Javier in Oia (Santorini)
Marble sidewalks. The Mediterranean. Cave houses. Too beautiful for words.

Here are three fun literary tidbits that happened along the way. When my kids were in elementary school, we read aloud The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. (She is one of my favorite children’s authors. Check out her website; it’s amazing.) Every night, we’d let our imaginations take us to Venice where a band of masked orphans lived hidden in boarded-up opera houses along the Grand Canal.The Thief Lord

“I want to go to Venice one day,” my son told me. I never forgot that moment when a book connected him to the larger world than he knew. So, here is a photo from Venice that I took last week. It’s a perfect reminder of a place where I think those orphans might have lived.

Probably deliciously spooky in there.

Probably deliciously spooky in there.

Surprise number two came when I rounded one of those serpentine streets in Venice to find a lovely bookstore. Look who’s in the window!  RJ Palacio’s WONDER! My friend’s book is officially an international sensation!

Wonder by R J Palacio right there on the bottom shelf!

Wonder by R J Palacio right there on the bottom shelf!

Finally, in Croatia, among the various street performers, we found this man displaying his parrots. I zeroed in on the red one immediately. My upcoming picture book, Sunset Colorá, is about a girl, a grandmother, and a bright red parrot. It was a nice reminder of home.

Proof positive that you are never far from your story

Proof positive that you are never far from your story

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