WOW Recommends: Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Cover for Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg MedinaMerci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, recalls the the middle grade experience of no longer being a child but not yet being an adult. This is the confusing age when responsibilities increase though little explanation is given as to why. The age when young people begin to question authority and long for independence, but still look for approval and acceptance. Medina captures all this in this 2019 Newbery Medal winning book.

Bouncing between the individualistic pursuits at private school and the collective efforts of her Cuban American family, Merci Suárez is in for a complicated sixth grade experience. At school, Merci is on scholarship and must do additional community service in exchange for tuition. This means she isn’t in a position to shed her responsibilities as a Sunshine Buddy to Michael Clark, who happens to be the crush of a jealous and influential Edna Santos. At home, Merci must pitch in to help the family by watching her cousins, even if it interferes with her soccer dreams. On top of everything else, the one person Merci has always counted on, her grandfather, Lolo, must now count on Merci instead.

Medina is an award-winning Cuban American author of picturebooks, middle grade and YA fiction. Merci Suárez Changes Gears is her second middle grade book. In an interview with Shelf Awareness, Medina says “I think what gives this award a feeling of extra weight for me is that it is a celebration of families, particularly Latino families at a time in our history when we hear many disparaging characterizations.”

Merci feels as though she’s on her own at school and at home, but ultimately learns that she has support in both places. Even more importantly, she learns that she has what it takes to navigate all the challenges life offers. -Recommended by Rebecca Ballenger, University of Arizona

ISBN: 9780763690496
Publisher: Candlewick Press
PubDate: September 11, 2018

Each month a committee of Worlds of Words advisors recommends a book published within the last year. Our hope is to spark conversations on our website and on social media about the book that expand global understandings and perceptions. Please join us by leaving a comment. You can also share your thoughts with us by using the hashtag #WOWRecommends on social media.

One thought on “WOW Recommends: Merci Suárez Changes Gears

  1. Marilyn Carpente says:

    One of the aspects of this outstanding book is that it clearly describes what complicated lives our children lead. Your review helps me remember how this book accomplishes that.

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