The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is Meg Medina. She’s a Cuban-American children’s book author. Medina is the first Latina to be ambassador. Her job is to inspire young readers all over the country.
Medina’s love of storytelling began with her family. Her relatives were immigrants to the United States. They often talked about their lives in Cuba. “It’s an endless stream of story,” Medina told TIME for Kids. “I think that was the beginning of that: the power of a shared story.”SCOTT ELMQUIST
Medina used to be a teacher. Then she quit her job to write children’s books. Her first novel was Milagros: Girl from Away. It was published in 2008. In 2014, she won the Pura Belpré Award. It’s given every year to a Latina or Latino writer. In 2019, Medina won the Newbery Medal. It’s a high honor in children’s literature.3D BOOK-COVER RENDERING BY STEPHEN BLUE FOR TIME FOR KIDS
A Big Mission
As ambassador, Medina will help young people connect with reading. “I want to give kids back the sense of reading for joy,” she says. “I want to reconnect kids with the library . . . and with the authors who are writing for them now.”SHAWN MILLER
A person is ambassador for two years. Medina will work directly with kids. She’s calling this effort ¡Cuéntame! Let’s Talk Books. The goal is to connect families and communities around stories. “My greatest hope is that kids come to reading and read widely and read the stories that really interest them.”
Important InspirationsCOURTESY MEG MEDINA
Meg Medina gets inspiration from many sources. “My work is the intersection of three things: family, culture, and growing up,” she told TFK. In her books, she explores these themes. She hopes her readers can see themselves in her characters. And she hopes they’ll learn about people with different experiences. This will help them empathize with others.