2016 National Book Award Longlist, Young People's Literature

Meg Medina

Burn Baby Burn Meg Medina
Burn Baby Burn
(Candlewick Press)
ISBN: 978-0763674670

National Book Foundation: Who did you write this book for?
Meg Medina: In some way, I write all my books for the girl I once was because she’s still inside me asking questions and trying to make sense of things. It’s only after that’s finished that I start to think about a wider audience. Burn Baby Burn is a time capsule of New York in the late 1970s, so I hope New Yorkers—those who lived those years and those there now—can find something to love in its pages. But I really hope the novel makes its way to kids everywhere who are living in circumstances that feel out of their control. Maybe it’s the violence in their city or school; maybe it’s the pain inside their own family. It doesn’t much matter. The feeling of being trapped in a tinderbox is the same—and it’s particularly galling when we’re young. We’ve been here before, though—clad in platform shoes and glitter eye shadow, as it happens. And it’s that link, that echo, that drew me to write about how we can survive chaos and grow up in one piece.


New York, summer 1977. Nora Lopez is seventeen, in love with both a new guy and disco music. But the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. And her troubles don’t even end there. Her brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, and her mother is helpless or unwilling to stop his decline. Life is a series of secrets, with tempers and temperatures running high. What will it take for Nora to survive?

About the Author

Meg Medina is the 2016 recipient of the Pura Belpré honor medal for her picture book, Mango, Abuela and Me, and the 2014 Pura Belpré Award winner for her young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which was also the winner of the 2013 CYBILS Fiction award and the International Latino Book Award. She is also the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal winner for her picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car.


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- TWITTER: @Meg_Medina


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