New Kids On The Block 2018 with Yamile Saied Méndez

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2019? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block next year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com. I would love to collaborate with you!


About Yamile Saied Méndez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. She’s also the children’s lit guest editor at Hunger Mountain literary journal and a writing mentor.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

One of the most painful experiences of my life was when my best friend broke up with me. One day we were on the phone commenting on last night’s episode of our favorite telenovela, and the next day, she didn’t reply to my calls or messages, or when she did, I felt like an invisible wall between us that hadn’t been there before.

We’d known each other since we were teenagers. We were both from the same city; we were both immigrants, loved the same teams, and had a lot of the same interests. She was one of the most important people in my life, and it took me a long time to get over her absence. When I wondered what had happened, there was nothing I could point my finger at that would explain the falling out. Our friendship simply fizzled out and died. And it hurt.

I was in my thirties, and this breakup still hurt as much as it did when I was eleven years old and the cool girls didn’t want to hang out with me. Maybe because as an immigrant, I had to make up a family amongst the friends I met when I arrived in the US, friends have always been a vital part of my life. And friends are such a vital part of a middle grader’s life! That’s why I’m so drawn to exploring what it’s like to want to be part of a group that might not be good for us, and how fantastic and magical it is when we meet our soul mates in the least expected situations. I’m blessed with an abundance of friends who enrich my life every day. Sometimes grown-ups forget how life and death the social environment of school, sports, or neighborhood can feel for a child. I’d love for a reader to see themselves in the pages of my book, and get the tools needed to recognize when it’s okay to let a relationship go. There are friends for life, and friends for a period of time, but true friendship is always magical and powerful.

Title Blizzard Besties
Author Yamile Saied Méndez
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date December 26th 2018 by Scholastic Inc
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book DepositoryThe King’s English Bookshop

Vanesa Campos can’t wait for winter vacation. Skiing on the slopes, sipping hot cocoa…her week at Pinecloud Lodge promises to be cozy and perfect. And maybe she can make some new friends! Never mind that glamorous Beck writes off Vanesa right away; twins Emma and Eric are ready to join the fun out in the snow.



But when the flakes start falling, everything changes. Vanesa’s little brother, Hunter, might be stranded out in the blizzard! Vanesa will have to team up with all the kids – plus one giant dog – to rescue him. Can she save her brother and discover which real friends will weather the storm with her?

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