Learning a new language is an enriching, educational experience for some children and a necessity for others. For D.C. based author and illustrator Juana Medina, learning English in her native Columbia was a requirement she resisted as a child, yet appreciated later as an adult. Medina uses her early experience in her latest book “Juana & Lucas” to both encourage children to learn and to foster an appreciation of diversity in young readers. We talk with Medina and Mary Ellen Icaza of Montgomery County Public Libraries about the role communities have in encouraging young readers of varied backgrounds, and how libraries can make immigrant families feel more at home.


  • Mary Ellen Icaza Public Services Administrator for Community Engagement, Programming, and Learning, Montgomery County Public Libraries
  • Juana Medina Author and illustrator, "Juana & Lucas" and "1 Big Salad"; teacher, George Washington University

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