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Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir

by Margarita Engle

Published by Atheneum, 2015
192 pages
ISBN: 978𢴒81435222

Age 11 and older

Margarita Engle抯 mother was Cuban, her father American. Introverted Margarita felt socially awkward here in the United States but something eased for her when she visited her mother抯 family in Cuba. She loved her relatives, the land, the ways of being, the very air when they would visit in the 1950s. Then came the 1960s, with the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the travel ban that cut them off from the place and the people she and her mother cherished. There were comments at school, tension at home, visits from the government, and no word on how their loved ones faired. Engle抯 family continued to travel, but not to the place she most longed to go. A memoir in poems that takes Engle through age 14 ends with one in which she writes, 揝omeday, surely I抣l be free / to return to the island of all my childhood / dreams. Her eventual return in 1991 and recent political changes are discussed in a brief author抯 note in a volume that also includes a Cold War timeline. Grounded in Engle抯 specific experience, the sense of loss, of feeling an outsider, of longing, will resonate with many tween and teen readers.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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