The 2020 Jumpstart Read for the Record Selection (2.24 million readers) * An American Library Association Notable Children’s Book * A Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year * A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of the Year * A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
From Newbery Medalist and New York Times best-selling author Meg Medina comes the bittersweet story of two girls who will always be each other’s número uno, even though one is moving away.
A big truck with its mouth wide open is parked at the curb, ready to gobble up Evelyn’s mirror with the stickers around the edge . . . and the sofa that we bounce on to get to the moon.
Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special. The tenderness of Meg Medina’s beautifully written story about friendship and change is balanced by Sonia Sánchez’s colorful and vibrant depictions of the girls’ urban neighborhood.
Meg Medina, the 2023–2024 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is a Cuban American author who writes for readers of all ages. Her middle-grade novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears received a Newbery Medal and was a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year, among many other distinctions. Its sequel, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, received five starred reviews, while Merci Suárez Plays It Cool received four stars, with Kirkus Reviews calling it “a fabulous finale to a memorable trilogy.” Her most recent picture book, Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, received honors including a Charlotte Zolotow Award and was the 2020 Jumpstart Read for the Record selection, reaching 2.24 million readers. She received a Pura Belpré Author Award Honor for her picture book Mango, Abuela, and Me. Her young adult novel Burn Baby Burn earned numerous distinctions, including being long-listed for the National Book Award and short-listed for the Kirkus Prize. Meg Medina received a Pura Belpré Author Award and a Cybils Award for her young adult novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which has been adapted and illustrated as a graphic novel by Mel Valentine Vargas. She also received an Ezra Jack Keats Writer Award for her picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car. When she is not writing, Meg Medina works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and literacy. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.
Sonia Sánchez is the illustrator of Here I Am, for which she was nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for interior art. She has been selected twice to participate in the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show. She lives with her husband, son, and a sleepyhead cat in Barcelona, Spain.
Newbery Medalist Medina’s versatility is in evidence here, showing she’s as much in tune with the picture-book audience as she is with older readers. With lines that go at angles and splashes of bold colors and patterns, Sánchez’s artwork is as lively and full of movement as the two girls. Layered applications of color create texture, and the interiors of their apartments are cozily beckoning. A tender story of friendship and change.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Digital artwork by Sánchez (Raisins and Almonds) radiates warmth and specificity as the girls interact with neighbors (“We sneak past grouchy Mr. Miller’s door and wave to Mr. Soo”) and revel in their last moments in homes whose windows face one another...Landing on the moment of their parting grief adds poignancy to their vibrant connection, and a final page turn offers further joy to this portrait of two girls of color and their strong, resilient friendship.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Daniela’s first-person, present-tense narration balances action and introspection, while in the illustrations the small, expressive figures of the two girls seem barely able to contain the deeply felt emotions, familiar to many children, that accompany loss and change. Sánchez’s illustrations layer colorful patterns and textures with filigreed lines and corrugated cardboard collage; bright yellow beech leaves litter the girls’ urban neighborhood, suggesting a season of transition. The final image of an older Daniela, seated on the floor of her room surrounded by letters from Evelyn, assures readers that, no matter what, you never forget your first “mejor amiga.”
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Newbery Medalist Meg Medina writes in the earnest and playful voice of a child, using uncomplicated words and a tone that’s equal parts solemn and hopeful. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away affirms feelings of sadness but provides assurance that true friendship—the kind built on sharing glittery stickers—endures.
—BookPage (starred review)
Sanchez’ digital art has a colored pencil and mixed media flair, and she’s particularly gifted in conveying human dynamics through poses as the brown-skinned girls sprawl on the floor or dart through the building together hand in hand. While a final scene shows a grown Daniela smiling over a box of Evelyn memorabilia, that’s by no means papering over the sadness of the parting, with both girls obviously and understandably griefstricken. It’s that honesty that makes this book truly useful: while life goes on when friends separate, adults as well as kids benefit from recognition that friends are essential and that it’s valid to mourn the departure of your “numero uno best friend.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
This story of the girls' last day together is a heartbreaker, but seeing the two girls squeeze every last moment of joy from that day of grief is a reminder that the simple and powerful bond of friendship is worth the heartache of separation.
Medina approaches the difficulty of best friends separated by a move from the perspective of the child left behind...Vivid colors keep the overall tone upbeat, and a final illustration depicts an older Daniela enjoying letters from her friend. Realistic and quietly satisfying.
Sánchez’s illustrations give life to the world these two best friends live in, while also revealing details about the move. The raw emotions that Daniela and Evelyn experience come through in the drawings. Medina and Sánchez have created a winning emotional story about two best friends who will always be best friends, regardless of all kinds of upheaval.
—School Library Journal
In Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, Newbery medalist Meg Medina and award-winning illustrator Sonia Sánchez poignantly capture the beauty of those precious first friendships.