Saturday, September 17, 2016

Margarita Engle

Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Lightning Dreamer, a PEN USA Award winner. Her verse memoir, Enchanted Air, received the Pura Belpré Award, Golden Kite Award, Walter Dean Myers Honor, and Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, among others. Her other books have received multiple Pura Belpré, Américas, and Jane Addams Awards and Honors, as well as a Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, and International Reading Association Award. Her most recent picture book, Drum Dream Girl, received the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text.

Engle lives in central California, where she enjoys helping her husband train his wilderness search and rescue dog.

Her new novel is Lion Island: Cuba's Warrior of Words.

Recently I asked Engle about what she was reading. Her reply:
I usually read four books at a time, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Right now, I’m re-reading Legacies, by Heberto Padilla. These poems represent one of the more amazing eras of Cuban literary tradition, written during an era of censorship, yet filled with hope. I’m also reading The Line of the Sun, a novel by Judith Ortíz Cofer. Like Legacies, this book is not new, but I feel that it’s important, because it takes us from the island of Puerto Rico onto the mainland, showing one of the most perplexing aspects of U.S. history, and in turn, U.S. family life. That aspect is the continued colonization of an island where the people are American citizens, but do not have the right to vote in presidential elections. The nonfiction book I’m really enjoying right now is Beyond Words, What Animals Think and Feel, by Carl Safina. Even though we can never really know exactly what animals think, this book presents a lot of what is known, with an emphasis on elephants. I love elephants, and want to know whatever I can about them. Since I just finished The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery , this is giving me a lot to absorb about animal intelligence, both vertebrate and in the surprising case of the octopus, invertebrate. The children’s book I just finished, and really found fascinating, is Talking Leaves, by Joseph Bruchac. It’s biographical fiction about Sequoyah, who developed an alphabet for the Cherokee language. I love any book about the history of reading, and this one is no exception. Next, I’ll read Moo by Sharon Creech, which I rushed out and bought on its release day, as I do with every verse novel I can find!
Visit Margarita Engle's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Margarita Engle & Maggi and Chance.

The Page 69 Test: Lion Island.

--Marshal Zeringue