Meg Medina’s book “Merci Suárez Changes Gears” on Monday won the 2019 Newbery Medal, the highest honor for a children’s book in the United States. The novel follows 11-year-old Merci as she deals with middle-school drama and her beloved grandfather’s forgetfulness and changing personality.
The book drew upon her childhood love of biking, Medina told KidsPost in an interview in August. Memories of her two Cuban American grandmothers and extended family helped her flesh out Merci’s large, lively family.
The group awarded the Caldecott Medal for best pictures in a book to “Hello Lighthouse,” which was written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. The book gives readers a glimpse into the life and work of a lighthouse keeper and his family through the changing seasons. This is Blackall’s second medal.
Washington, D.C., author Elizabeth Acevedo’s “The Poet X” swept prizes in several categories, including the Printz Award for best teen fiction, the Pura Belpré Award for best book by a Latinx author and an Odyssey honor
for the audiobook, which the author narrated. In this novel, told in verse, a teenager shares her frustrations and dreams through slam poetry. That book also won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, which was announced in November.
“The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science” by Joyce Sidman won the Sibert Award for most distinguished nonfiction book. “Fox the Tiger” by Corey Tabor brought home the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for best beginning-reader book.
The American Library Association announced awards in these and other categories Monday morning at its midwinter conference in Seattle. This nonprofit organization promotes libraries and library education around the world. It has given Newbery awards since 1922, and Caldecott since 1937.