A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air
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In this powerful companion to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle recounts her teenage years during the turbulent 1960s.
Margarita Engle’s childhood straddled two worlds: the lush, welcoming island of Cuba and the lonely, dream-soaked reality of Los Angeles. But the revolution has transformed Cuba into a mystery of impossibility, no longer reachable in real life. Margarita longs to travel the world, yet before she can become independent, she’ll have to start high school.
Then the shock waves of war reach America, rippling Margarita’s plans in their wake. Cast into uncertainty, she must grapple with the philosophies of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection. Despite overwhelming circumstances, she finds solace and empowerment through her education. Amid the challenges of adolescence and a world steeped in conflict, Margarita finds hope beyond the struggle, and love in the most unexpected of places.
Praise For Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air…
— The Horn Book, starred review
* “Engle shines a light on the uncertainty and restlessness of the time period—the Vietnam War; civil, women’s, and labor rights movements; the rise of hippie and drug culture; and more—with raw, painful, but always poignant honesty. . . . An unforgettable peek into an important and relevant time period brought into perspective by a masterly poet. A must-have for every collection.”
— School Library Journal, starred review
* “Margarita's thirst for adventure is strong and bold, even when she sees herself as anything but daring or courageous. . . . Engle keeps her narrative intimate, as though readers are viewing pages of her diary. Introspective and inquisitive, Soaring Earth traverses adolescence and early adulthood with grace, grit and unflinching realism.”
— Shelf Awareness, starred review
“Contemporary youth will find parallels with Engle as she seeks connection with a peer group, a close friend, or a lover—someone with whom she can make sense of her context. This companion to her award-winning Enchanted Air packs a historical wallop. . . . The memoir ends on a positive note, as she finds her place with nature, poetry, and a life partner.”
“This is a lesser-seen take on the political activism of the late 1960s, through the eyes of a young woman supportive of its goals but validly unnerved by the violence and wary of the drugs that have damaged her friends. Young Margarita is perhaps a more consistent character to readers, with her love of travel, longing for Cuba, and fascination with finding the beautiful, than she is to herself, and it’s fortunate readers have the pre-known eventual happy ending to hold on to as she’s buffeted by fate and isolated from support. She’s therefore a touchingly sympathetic figure to whom many young people will relate, and the spare ease of the free verse especially invites those who may be struggling themselves into her story of finding her way.”
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534429536, 192pp.
Publication Date: February 26, 2019