Writer Spotlight : Meg Medina
With the Writer Spotlight Series, we create a positive image for Black girls to refer to, by having conversations with different writers and illustrators. This month we have been doing Q&As with many writers, to get to know more about them and they work. Here, we are showcasing all the questions we have asked Meg Medina the author of the award winning Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away. You can read our book review in our first issue, available to buy here
I think most of us can remember our very first friend. Mine was Evelyn Guzman. Her family, like mine, was from Cuba, and we lived only a few blocks from one another in New York. I wanted to write a picture book that would capture all that is fun and wonderful about friends when we are very young. But that wasn’t quite enough for a story. In a story, something has to happen, something kids can relate to. So I had some thinking to do. Being afraid to lose a friend is something that a lot of kids experience as they grow up, so I decided to focus on what happens when friends move away. It’s hard to miss someone you care about. That’s especially true right now, isn’t it? Lots of kids are missing their friends as we practice social distancing.
How do you structure your stories?
Well, for picture book, I think of poetry. That’s because I try to write a big idea with very few words, and I try to choose words that make pictures and inspire feelings inside the reader. With novels for older kids, like Merci Suárez Changes Gears, I always start the first chapter or two with the main character and the people in her world. The story is shaped like a hill that the reader and the character have to climb. It has a beginning where we meet everyone. Then we climb up problem after problem to the thorny middle where everything is a mess. Finally, we move down the slope again to an ending where most things get resolved. I find ways for my character to struggle before she finds the solution to her troubles. By the end, she has grown and changed a bit from the experience.
Would there be a part 2?
That would be lovely! I hadn’t thought about it, but it might be nice to see what happens to Evelyn in her new home. It might even be fun to see what readers would come up with, too - like fan fiction for Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away.
Is there one fun fact about yourself, you would like to share?
I’d say that I’ve always been lucky in the friends department. I wasn’t the most popular person in school. I wasn’t the smartest or sportiest or best looking, either. But I have always had one or two dear friends who made every day better, even on the days when I didn’t like myself very much. One of my oldest friends, in fact, is R.J. Palacio, the author of Wonder, a book that is known the world over. Raquel and I were best friends during elementary school in New York. It’s so funny to me that we both turned to the world of writing stories for children. We are still dear friends today.
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away
by Meg Medina and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez
You can find more about Meg here
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