Welcome to our #LevelUp2021 Author Spotlight Series! We’re thrilled to feature 4 incredibly talented authors from our first National K-12 Summer Reading Challenge, sponsored by Thorndike Press and Mark Cuban.
This week, we’ve interviewed Meg Medina, Newbery award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of picture books, as well as middle grade and young adult fiction. Medina’s books include She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, and many more delightful, impactful tales. She is an advocate for initiatives that support Latinx youth and serves on the National Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
What are you currently reading?
The She Persisted chapter book series.
When is your favorite time to read?
At night, right before bedtime.
What is your favorite thing you've written? Book or otherwise!
Every book is my favorite as I am working on it, and each feels important in a different way.
What's your favorite childhood book?
As a child it was Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. Today, I have a new favorite almost every day. I am a huge fan of Renee Watson, Rebecca Stead, and Erin Entrada Kelly, to name just a few.
What is your favorite word and why?
“Abundance,” because of that lovely “b” sound and the lingering "s" sound at the end, and because I love to apply it to how people move through the world with generosity.
What is the funniest typo you’ve written?
I am the Queen of Typos, especially on social media posts. I no longer stress about it. In my manuscripts it's a struggle. I often use Spanish words in my texts and autocorrect stubbornly corrects it to English. When I reread what's on the page, sometimes it has been turned into utter nonsense.
What time of day do you usually like to write?
If you could have coffee (or beverage of choice!) with any author, who would it be?
I have missed seeing my friend Lamar Giles in person this year. I think I'd have him at the top of my list.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? And/or how did you become a writer?
I was always drawn to stories, so I suppose I always leaned this way. Fear kept me from trying for many years. I was 40 years old before I decided to quit my job and try to write a novel for young people. I wrote for about a year and then went about the tough work of finding an agent to represent me. Once I connected with my agent, Jen Rofe, things quickly fell into place. I'm so glad I finally found the courage to take the risk.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Work on your craft above all else. After that, you will have to persevere. This is a business that says “no” far more often than it says “yes,” so you have to be willing to keep at your work, even in the face of a slow lift-off.
What is your favorite thing about summer?
Oh, being outside, especially at the beach, where I love to sit under a canopy and read for hours at a time.
Why is it important for readers to know that books are formatted in large print? And/or how important is format when it comes to putting your books out in the world?
I think everyone should have access to good books in the format that is needed and most comfortable for the reader. There are many reasons that larger type is helpful. For example, sometimes we need it for visual issues. Or, sometimes large print helps with readers who are new to a language. Type size doesn't take away from the story. It just adds a more enthusiastic and relaxed reader. I'm delighted to have my books appear in as many formats as my readers find helpful.
Stay tuned for future Thorndike Press author spotlights throughout #LevelUp2021, and encourage your community to keep reading!