Weaving family memorie
“IT WAS a big whoops moment,” said Meg Medina about the real-life incident that also appears in her new novel, Merci Suárez Changes Gears.
Medina was a middle school teacher when it happened. Like her 11-year-old main character, Merci, she made a huge mistake on a project about ancient Egypt. The consequences, for Merci, are surprising, awful and kind of funny – all at the same time. Two things that influenced the book are Medina’s love of bike riding and her fear of a dressmaker’s dummy that reminded her of a headless ghost when she was a kid.
Medina also drew on memories of her two CubanAmerican grandmothers and other members of her extended family. “Everyone gave advice,” said Medina.
Merci feels that way, too.
She lives in Florida with Mami, Papi and her older brother,
Roli. Her grandparents – Abuela and Lolo – and her aunt and naughty twin cousins live in small houses close by. Merci is starting sixth grade at the private school where Roli is a star student. Middle school is tough for Merci, though. Classes are hard, with lots of homework, and because she’s a scholarship student, Merci feels extra pressure to do well. Then there’s Edna Santos, a popular, rich girl who calls Merci a baby because she would rather play soccer than giggle over boys.
If only she could tell her troubles to Lolo! In the past, Merci would her brother’ grandfather always made
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“That wa freedom,” M yearns for th
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