Enchanted air Two cultures, two wings : a memoir

Margarita Engle

Book - 2015

"In this ... memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War"--Amazon.com.

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York, NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers [2015]
©2015
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
192 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781481435222
1481435221
9781481435239
148143523X
Main Author
Margarita Engle (author)
  • Love at first sight
  • Magical travels
  • Winged summer
  • Strange sky
  • Two wings
  • Cold War time line.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Reflecting on her childhood in Los Angeles and her Cuban heritage, Engle's memoir in verse is, indeed, nothing short of enchanting. Descriptions of Cuba as a tropical paradise and the home of her beloved abuelita come alive in the spare free-verse poems. She evocatively addresses weighty issues, such as her mother's homesickness, being bicultural, the challenge of moving homes and schools, the Cuban Revolution, and negotiating an identity that is being torn apart by politics and social attitudes at complete odds with her feelings and experiences. With characteristic precision, Engle captures a range of emotions and observations salient to a young girl: belonging (to Cuba or the U.S.?), daydreaming (about riding a horse), questioning (the absurdity of Cold War politics), needing (to run, play, fly), wishing (she could fit in), fear (of FBI agents), and more. In addition to the arresting content that provides many opportunities for learning, the craft of this memoir lends itself to creative exploration in the classroom. Poems might be examined in isolation, juxtaposed with others, or used as writing models. The book's poignancy and layered beauty make it a worthy addition to any collection and a fitting companion to Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming (2014) and Thanhha Lai's Inside Out and Back Again (2011). Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6–10—A deeply personal memoir-in-verse filled with Engle's trademark intricately woven lyricism. The author's memories focus on the first 14 years of her life, beginning with idyllic summers spent in her mother's homeland of Cuba and ending during the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent travel ban. Engle captures the heart of a quiet, young girl torn between two cultures. This historical memoir/love poem to Cuba couldn't be more timely. With the recent easing of relations with Cuba, teachers can use the text as an accessible entry point into the history behind this very current event. And while the narrative unfolds over 50 years ago, Engle's experiences will still resonate with adolescents and teens today. Any child who has felt like an outsider will recognize themselves in Margarita's tale. When the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and everyone's focus shifted, \the author was left confused, empty and unfulfilled by her school's seemingly senseless focus on what felt like irrelevant historical events. What American child with ties to a country experiencing turmoil couldn't relate to the lingering after-effects of far off events in our era of two-minute news bytes? VERDICT A more than worthwhile purchase for any library in need of a universally applicable coming-of-age tale, a fantastic new memoir-in-verse, or a glimpse into Cuba's past.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ [Page 138]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In this poetic memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up in two cultures during a time of cold hostility between nations. This almost-war of words shaped a sensitive young girl into an award-winning poet who enriches the world with words of a far more hopeful kind. By the author of The Surrender Tree. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Offers an account of the first fourteen years of the author's life in poems, telling of her time spent between her mother's native Cuba and her home in Los Angeles, until the revolution in Cuba dramatically alters relations between the two countries she loves.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother's tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not. Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita's worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not. Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?