National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Meg Medina will launch her national tour with a visit to the communities of Lake Charles, Louisiana and Newburgh, New York this spring and summer.
During her tour, Medina will inspire students and families to experiment with “book talks” — the process of sharing books to start conversations and build excitement about reading. Medina, the eighth national ambassador, aims to emphasize books and stories as a part of everyday life, encourage story sharing and conversation among friends and within families, and to highlight libraries as a welcoming place for families to explore, learn and connect.
Medina’s tour will engage readers through her initiative Cuéntame!: Let’s talk books. Inspired by the Spanish phrase that friends and families use when catching up with one another, Cuéntame! builds connection in classrooms, libraries, communities and within families.
Medina will engage these audiences with two events at each tour stop: a public event at a local library and a private program at an area school.
Medina will host public events at the following libraries:
Tuesday, May 9, 6 p.m.: Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Tuesday, June 13, 6 p.m.: Newburgh Free Library, Newburgh, New York
Events are free and open to the public. Tour dates for the fall will be announced later this month.
The communities Medina visits on tour will receive a curated set of digital collections items about their local community from the Library of Congress’ archives in addition to a tailored information session about Library resources and/or grant opportunities.
Each student in the schools visited on tour will also receive a copy of one of Medina’s acclaimed books, donated by Candlewick Press, as part of the National Ambassador program’s overarching mission to enhance young people’s connection with books. The tour is coordinated and funded with primary support from Every Child a Reader, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program partner, an award-winning literacy charity in its 15th year of promoting the joy of reading.
To follow Medina’s journey across the country, visit her National Ambassador LibGuide — available in English and Spanish. For educators who want to incorporate Cuéntame!: Let’s talk books into the classroom, download Medina’s National Ambassador Educator Guide. To apply for Medina’s 2024 tour, check for details on Medina’s LibGuide in August 2023 or subscribe to the Library’s Bookmarked blog for updates.
As the world’s largest library — one uniquely charged with the development and preservation of civic, intellectual and creative vigor — programs such as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature promote the Library of Congress’ real-world engagement and commitment to readers in America.
The National Ambassador program was established by the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council and its foundation, Every Child a Reader, in 2008 to emphasize the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.
About Meg Medina
Meg Medina is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book “Merci Suárez Changes Gears,” which was followed by two more acclaimed books about the Suárez family: “Merci Suárez Can’t Dance” and “Merci Suárez Plays It Cool.” Her young adult novels include “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass,” which won the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award and will be published in 2023 as a graphic novel illustrated by Mel Valentine Vargas; “Burn Baby Burn,” which was long-listed for the National Book Award; and “The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind.” She is also the author of picture books “Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away,” illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, Jumpstart’s 2020 Read for the Record selection; “Mango, Abuela, and Me,” illustrated by Angela Dominguez; and “Tía Isa Wants a Car,” illustrated by Claudio Muñoz, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award; and the biography for young readers “She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor.” The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Richmond, Virginia.
About Every Child a Reader
Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) award-winning literacy charity whose popular national programs include Children’s Book Week, the longest-running literacy initiative in the country, celebrating 104 years in 2023; the Kids’ Book Choice Awards, the only national book awards chosen solely by children and teens; Get Caught Reading, a classroom poster project: and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program, in partnership with the Library of Congress.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.