Jan 26, 2023 - World

Young adult author first Latina national ambassador for reading

Author Meg Medina sits with a bookcase behind her

Meg Medina, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature 2022-2024. Photo: Noticias Telemundo

Cuban American author Meg Medina was inaugurated Tuesday as the first Hispanic ambassador for young people's literature at the Library of Congress.

Why it matters: Young adult and children's literature has been diversifying in recent years, but several of those works have been targets of book bans.

What she's saying: Medina, the 2019 Newbery Medal winner for "Merci Suárez Changes Gears," says she hopes "to serve as an example of Latinos' contributions to the U.S. literary landscape."

  •  "I can also be an example to counter the false narratives about Latinos, like saying we don't read or care little about education, and to show young people the immensely positive effect that developing a reading habit can have,” Medina told Noticias Telemundo.
  • Medina added that she learned to love reading because her mom would take her to the library when they ran other errands.

Details: Established in 2008, the two-year post entails traveling across the country to promote reading among children and teens.

  • Past ambassadors include bestselling authors Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson.
  • Medina said in her inauguration speech that she hopes the program she launched, "¡Cuéntame!: Let’s talk books," will encourage kids to connect with works of all genres and formats — including bilingual books, graphic novels and audiobooks.
  • She says she especially wants to prompt children to seek out works that can broaden their perspectives through the many new authors who have made inroads in young people's literature.

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