The Library of Congress has named Newbery-winning author Meg Medina as the next ambassador for young people’s literature. Medina is the first Latinx author to hold the position, and follows acclaimed author Jason Reynolds.
In announcing the appointment, the Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden said, “ I am delighted Meg Medina will serve as the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Meg’s warmth and openness, coupled with her long-running commitment to young readers, libraries and librarians, is extraordinary. I look forward to the ways she will invite young people—especially Spanish and bilingual speakers—to share their favorite books and stories.”
“It’s a huge honor, but it also comes balanced with this enormous responsibility,” Medina told NPR. “My job is to help America’s children construct a reading life.”
“It’s an enormous honor to advocate for the reading and writing lives of our nation’s children and families,” Medina said in a statement. “I realize the responsibility is critical but with the fine examples of previous ambassadors to guide me, I am eager to get started on my vision for this important work. More than anything, I want to make reading and story-sharing something that happens beyond classroom and library walls.”
Medina will serve for two years in the role, and during her term, will engage with readers and schools through her new initiative, “Cuéntame.”
“Cuéntame is ‘So tell me.’ Tell me about books, tell me about what’s going on in your library, tell me what your favorite thing was,” Medina told NPR.
Medina is the author of numerous books for young people, including the picture book Evelyn Del Ray is Moving Away, the middle grade novel Merci Suarez Changes Gears and its two sequels, and the Pura Belpre award-winning book Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which has been the target of censorship around the country. She’s also been featured in several anthologies, including The Radical Element, edited by DC-local Jessica Spotswood, and Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed.
An inauguration ceremony, presided by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and attended by 2020-22 National Ambassador Jason Reynolds, will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 10:30 a.m.and will be live-streamed.
Photo credit: Scott Elmquist.