Meg Medina is an award-winning author of picture books, middle grade and YA fiction. Her work examines how cultures intersect through the eyes of young people. Her latest is the Pura Belpre Award and the 2014 CYBILS Award for fiction, "Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass."
Meg speaks of how, growing up, she was embarrassed by her mother's accent. What helped turn that around for her, and helped her believe she could be an author?
She was 20 when she read Sandra Cisneros' "The House on Mango Street" and it came as a shock - to see people who looked like her aunt and mother, people eating what her family ate. Realizing that they were worthy of a story "gave me permission to tell the stories I could take from my own life… and re-work into fiction."
She also shares that if you're outside a culture and writing about that culture, it's important to have people of the culture read your work to make sure you have "real people in your novel who we care about, not plastic."
There's lots more discussed, from the over-sexualized stereotype of Latina women to Publishers' approaches to finding new voices and diverse stories.
An excellent and important discussion!