Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

In this poetic 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.

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?
This beautiful memoir gives us a glance into the life of a child living in two worlds and trying to find herself in the midst of a world that is in chaos. Hearing from the first person narrative gives the reader a new perspective on a crisis that is sometimes overlooked. I loved this book from cover to cover and will definitely be using it in my classroom as not only a mentor text for poetry, but also in conjunction with my Social Studies teachers lessons when it comes time. I love the idea of taking pieces of her life as we are working through the historical context. Having a first person perspective through the events will definitely bring a new piece to our classrooms! Absolutely stunning piece!

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