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?
About the Author
Margarita Engle was the 2017–2019 national Young People’s Poet Laureate, and received the 2019 NSK Neustadt Prize. She is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including Soaring Earth; With a Star in My Hand; The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and The Lightning Dreamer, a PEN Literary Award for Young Adult Literature winner. Her verse memoir, Enchanted Air, received the Pura Belpré Award, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among others. Her picture book Drum Dream Girl received the Charlotte Zolotow Award. Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives. She continues to visit Cuba as often as she can. Visit her at MargaritaEngle.com.
Read an Excerpt
The first time my parents
take me soaring through magical sky
to meet my mother’s family in Cuba,
I am so little that I can hardly speak
to my island relatives—
my abuelita, my old grandma,
who still loves to dance,
and her ancient mamá, my great-grandma,
who still loves to garden, working
just as hard as any strong
Already, this island is beginning to seem
like a fairy-tale kingdom,
where ordinary people
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Enchanted Air, Two Cultures, Two Wings Every time she leaves Cuba she feels like she leaves part of herself behind. Margarita is part Cuban and part American. She loves taking trips to Cuba, but her home is her crummy California town. In this book a girl’s mom who is from Cuba and loves Cuba, but war gets in the way. She has to power through not seeing her mom's’ many cousins and live in her crummy california town hoping they are all okay. Finally she has to get through the hardship of the hatred corresponded with her mother friendly island were her invisible twin still lives. Before reading I expected poems, spanish words, and a amazing book. After I read the book I felt like the book was amazing, sentimental, it deserves the awards it has won, and it taught me how some words in spanish witch made it really cool. I really liked this book because it involved history, it showed how much love she has for her family witch is really relatable, she is very creative and imaginative, and she made you feel like you were in her shoes. Reader who like historical fiction and realistic fiction would love this book. Readers might consider reading before/after this book Inside Out and Back again for a similar format. Readers should also expect to cry a little because it warms the heart. Reader from 6th-12th grade should read this book and ages 12 and up.