Thursday, July 11, 2019

The 2019 Newbery Medal Speech by Meg Medina

Meg Medina won the 2019 Newbery Medal for her middle grade novel, Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

She received the award and gave her acceptance speech at a gala dinner celebration on Sunday June 23, 2019.

Meg's speech was lovely, and personal, and universal, speaking of her own life (with the stories of her bike history) and sharing what she hoped to accomplish through the creation of this fictional bike, crafting:

“...a novel with a bike as Merci’s first longing, a way to steer herself through the sixth grade and all that awaits her during that wonderful and bewildering year. Merci Suárez and her family are a Cuban clan who live intergenerationally, interconnectedly, in Florida, as my mother dreamed of doing. And they’re a family that sacrifices for each other in large and small ways every day, which is, I think, the most important legacy the elders in my family left me.

And what does Merci find out? Just what I have, I suppose. That life is full of wonderful surprises, like new friends in the sixth grade, and lousy ones; like loneliness and family illnesses. She discovers — as always children will — that happiness and heartbreak coexist in a life well lived. Sometimes all there is to do is to switch to a different gear and push on, always with the hope of a better day.”
It's quite a speech, and you can read the whole thing here, courtesy of the Horn Book.

A moment of emotion captured on the giant screens during the standing ovation after Meg Medina's Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech

Find out more about Meg and her books here.

Illustrate and Write On,

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