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A School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2019! 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 revol A School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2019! 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.


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A School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2019! 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 revol A School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2019! 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.

30 review for Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Well, I have found a type of memoir I actually enjoy - those written in verse. These two books (Enchanted Air comes first) were delightful. Can’t wait to read more by this author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Title: Soaring Earth Author: Margarita Engle Release Date: February 26, 2019 Genre: Poetry, YA, Memoir People of Color?: Yes Bechdel Test: Yes Trigger Warning:s: No explicit violence. Disclaimer: I received Soaring Earth in exchange for an honest review. Visit here at FierceFemaleReads for more. Margarita loves living in the paradise of Cuba, but her family unexpectedly moves to dark and lonely Los Angeles. The Cuban Revolution has restricted all travel to Cuba and she must make peace with her American Title: Soaring Earth Author: Margarita Engle Release Date: February 26, 2019 Genre: Poetry, YA, Memoir People of Color?: Yes Bechdel Test: Yes Trigger Warning:s: No explicit violence. Disclaimer: I received Soaring Earth in exchange for an honest review. Visit here at FierceFemaleReads for more. Margarita loves living in the paradise of Cuba, but her family unexpectedly moves to dark and lonely Los Angeles. The Cuban Revolution has restricted all travel to Cuba and she must make peace with her American home. She wants to travel and find new paradises, but the realities of being a high school student keep her grounded. She is distracted by first love and other new experiences. The poetry paints such a vivid and emotional pictural that I feel as if I've stepped into Engle's world. I love her journey of empowerment through education. She struggles with huge concepts, such as war, peace, and love while the Vietnam War hits close to home. We leave her as a young adult. I hope there will be a third installment where we follow Engle's young adult life! The work is suitable for teens and up and I would recommend it for anyone who loves poetry or just the memoir genre in general!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ksenia

    Another beautiful verse novel from one of the best authors out there writing it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    SO, so good!!! Inspiring, makes me want to write my own memoir. It's amazing to me how so few words can convey a lifetime of experiences <3 SO, so good!!! Inspiring, makes me want to write my own memoir. It's amazing to me how so few words can convey a lifetime of experiences <3

  5. 4 out of 5

    Luz

    this is a companion book to another book she has written. I love the way that she describes things and how she relies each memory.

  6. 4 out of 5

    MaryLibrarianOH

    My heart ached for young adult Margarita as I read. Her verse storytelling provides an intimate look at time in our country’s history and how she personally experienced it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Soaring Earth is novel-in-verse, memoir of the author's high school and college experiences. A sequel to Enchanted Air, this volume echoes the longing for returning to Cuba, with her family there and its aura of paradise. This isn't possible, so she turns to dreams of travels to far away places. Eventually she finds herself at UC Berkeley, becomes involved in the hippie/drug scene, protests and other student life experiences, which lead to her dropping out after her freshman year. She seemed tra Soaring Earth is novel-in-verse, memoir of the author's high school and college experiences. A sequel to Enchanted Air, this volume echoes the longing for returning to Cuba, with her family there and its aura of paradise. This isn't possible, so she turns to dreams of travels to far away places. Eventually she finds herself at UC Berkeley, becomes involved in the hippie/drug scene, protests and other student life experiences, which lead to her dropping out after her freshman year. She seemed traumatized from that year. She finds her way to a commune in the San Francisco area, and later hitchhikes to NYC with a crazy, sort-of boyfriend. Her life seems so far off the path she started on, when she was a voracious lover of books and learning. Eventually she returns home and settles down with her family and enrolls in and attends community college. She credits community college with saving her, giving her a purpose, the chance to continue. I loved what she said in her note at the end of the book (see last quote). There is no shame in getting an education through community college. I love this emphasis. As a fellow college dropout (at this time I have one and a half classes to finish to graduate, but neither time nor money to do so), I found hope in this book. For anyone who struggles before or during their early years at a university, remember there are other paths you can take. *** Favorite quotes and some commentary: Bookworm "Bookworm. There are so many ways of looking at the winged future of a crawling caterpillar. But I'm finally identified and claimed by an eager group of studious readers who are mostly mixed-together half this, half that, tolerant of everyone else, hyphenated Americans, all our hyphens equally winged. Japan, Korea, China, Poland, Holland, Mexico, Cuba, the homelands of our immigrant parents don't really matter here on the wall, where science and poetry are the passions that unite us." (p. 9) *** Identity "Dad says he's agnostic and also Jewish, but he listens to a Hindu Guru on the radio, and when we go for a Sunday drive, he sits beside a mountain stream and explains that he's trying to communicate with nature as he brushes swirls of watercolor across a sheet of blank paper that turns out to be a magical sort of mirror that can show peaceful trees exactly the way they are while leaving out man-made roads and fences, returning a patch I've wounded forest to its natural wholeness. Someday, maybe my poetry and stories will learn how to alter language, creating a timescape where past and future can meet." (p. 19-20) *** Global "In between real-boy craziness and daydreams of imaginary guys, there are books. I'm shocked when the reading list for world literature class is limited to Europe, so I dare to read the Mahabharata from India, Octavio Paz from Mexico, and anonymous ancient poems from Japan, claiming my right to explore the whole globe. When I turn in reports on books from my own independent reading list, the teacher is surprised, but she agrees that it makes sense, and she accepts my suggestions, even though they're outlaws from beyond the small-minded curriculum. Sometimes all you have to do is wish out loud." (p. 29) *** Honors Creative Writing Class "It sound so exciting on paper but the reality is frightening, a critique group of teens from all over the city who sit in a circle taking turns smirking as they tell one another how much they hate every poem and each fragment of a story. So I stop writing. I freeze. Stanger are impossible to please. If I ever scribble again, I'll keep every treasured eord secret." (p. 30) *** "Is my dream of peace just an illusion left over from childhood?" (p. 48) *** Damaged "Only my confidence in the world's generosity was injured. No scars. Just an absence of belief in kindness." (p. 50) *** This book highlights the author's college years at Berkeley, during the turbulent times of conflict over the Vietnam War, experimenting with drugs, and protests. It's apparent that the author has experienced a lot of traumatic events; although she just touches on them in her poetry, readers can sense the deeper way these experiences have affected her through verses such as: Stillness "I need to recover from the shock of a friend's overdose outdoors. Nature. The redwood forest. No people, just trees, this height of sky. . . and internal size of silence." (p. 58) *** The Mystery of Movement "Back to classrooms. Obediently seated. Trying to listen. Struggling to learn. Opening library books. Nothing is constant. Everything changes. Earth rotates at 1,000 miles per hour, orbits the sun at 67,000 miles per day, while the solar system glides 1,300,000 mph within the Milky Way. So while I'm seated, I'm really traveling 32,000,000 miles each day. How many other illusions do I experience, along with this one that fools me I to thinking I'm capable of choosing my own direction?" (p. 59) *** "What will it take for people to give up their illusions? Old Americans assume the island is hell, while young idealists imagine paradise." (p. 68) *** ". . . a local teacher who accepts me into his eager crew of Chicano students, even though I admit that I'm cubana, not mexicana. Todos somos primos, he says. We're all cousins." (p. 70) *** "Am I the only hippie who dreads the sliding-mind effect of drugs and finds myself feeling high on the poetry of Paz?" (p. 73) *** Exit Interview "The counselors don't seem to care . . . why I'm dropping out of college, but they're expected to ask so I tell the truth, my freshman experience has been too frightening, with nothing but threats, insults, riots I thiught I was brave but I'm scared. The panel of three counselors all nod, shrug, grin, and agree, yeah, lots of other freshmen are dropping out too. They don't ask where I'll go or what I'll do to survive." (p.78) *** "Am I only myself between the pages of strangers' memories?" (p. 91) *** "I never would have guessed that I—who can't even begin to see myself as an optimist—could end up feeling useful as part of a suicide prevention hotline, offering lists of reasons to live." (p. 97) *** "This country is so violent. Surely I'll die young." (p. 98) *** "Homeless in Harlem? My last twenty dollars are stolen out of my bag by someone seated next tobme in a church." (p.107) *** Pausing to Search for My Lost Self in Books "Once upon a time I believed that poetry was a river where anyone could swim, but fear of criticism overwhelmed me, and noe all I have is prose. So I find the library and read instead of writing. Jorge Amado, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In books, I find villages lost in time, towns that remind me of Trinidad, Cuba. . . " (p. 110) *** "Will I ever manage to return to college? Once an opportunity has been abandoned, can lost hope ever be rediscovered?" (p. 114) *** "I feel as if I've ventured too far from the loves of my childhood, nature and poetry. It's time to go back and try to find courage." (p. 121) *** "I need to rediscover my original self before I share real life with anyone else." (p.125) *** Now I Only Listen to Professors "Geology. Geography. Meteorology. Botany. The poetry of science flows over me like a waterfall, flooding my emotions with a sense of belonging on earth. Rocks. Continents. Weather. Plants. My world is complete, once I've learned the rhythmic names of human life's neighbors." (p.128) *** "If I'd known how wide and wild my first doomed attempt at college would be,. I might have started right here in a smaller school, where none of the professors have Nobel Prizes, but oh, how they love to teach!" (p. 133) *** "Poor people don't care if I'm a bit different, as long as we're united for the same causes." (p.136) *** "Once I know what I want to do with my life, words, verses, and rythyms return!" (p. 149) *** From the Author's Note: "College is hard work, even in quieter times. Distractions and discouragement are common. Choas and other challenges such as homesickness, hostile relationships, substance abuse, family pressures, or financial hardships can lead to dismay, even depression. More than half of all college students drop out. Community College saved me. The classes were small enough for personal interaction with professors who loved to teach. Fees were low, giving ne time to experiment by studying different subjects until I found one I truly loved. I wrote Soaring Earth because I hope that high school and middle school students who are already dreaming of college might realize that it's fine to follow any one of a variety of pathways. Big, famous campuses aren't the only ones that can offer an inspiring education. All that matters is choosing a place to start, and then persevering." (p. 161)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Soaring Earth (Enchanted Air #2) by Margarita Engle, 157 pages. NON-FICTION Atheneum Books, 2019. $19. Content: Language: G; Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: G. BUYING ADVISORY: HS – OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW This is Margarita Engle’s memoir about her time as a teenager and her first years in college against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Margarita enjoyed reading and learning but was distracted by the protests and hippie lifestyle that she found on her college campus. Engle ended up takin Soaring Earth (Enchanted Air #2) by Margarita Engle, 157 pages. NON-FICTION Atheneum Books, 2019. $19. Content: Language: G; Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: G. BUYING ADVISORY: HS – OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW This is Margarita Engle’s memoir about her time as a teenager and her first years in college against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Margarita enjoyed reading and learning but was distracted by the protests and hippie lifestyle that she found on her college campus. Engle ended up taking a break from college and tried to find her place in the world, eventually making her way back to her parents. This memoir is written in prose and although I usually really enjoy Engle’s writing, this book was all over the place. I felt like the author included so many details that there wasn’t a decipherable direction that I could follow. The author’s note at the end made the most sense. The content includes underage marijuana smoking. Also, this book makes more sense if you have read her first memoir, Enchanted Air. Reviewer, C. Peterson https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2019...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    Margarita Engle shares her experiences in high school and then afterward, in and out of college, drifting around trying to find where she fit, disturbed by the unrest around her and in the world, and try to figure out what she should do with her life. This is an honest and brave memoir from a now successful woman. She reveals how unsuccessful her first attempt at college was and several years of wandering that could have very well ended badly. She went to Berkley but was overwhelmed by the unrest Margarita Engle shares her experiences in high school and then afterward, in and out of college, drifting around trying to find where she fit, disturbed by the unrest around her and in the world, and try to figure out what she should do with her life. This is an honest and brave memoir from a now successful woman. She reveals how unsuccessful her first attempt at college was and several years of wandering that could have very well ended badly. She went to Berkley but was overwhelmed by the unrest there and the riots in protest of the Vietnam War and more. She shares how she frequently trusted and followed the wrong guys in high school and her college-age years, and how they just led her nowhere. She tried communes and odd jobs, lived in several places with a variety of people who were unemployed, full-time protestors, some mentally unstable, and most were drug addicts. She finally got dissatisfied enough with the wandering and poverty and aimlessness that she went back home, did what she initially rejected (living with her parents and going to community college) and in the process found topics she loved to study and professors who actually cared about her. High school seniors are too often obsessed with the "prestigious" route, like Engle was, and get lost in what they think is their dream school. I really appreciate that Engle shared her story and how she kind of regrets not taking the less prestigious route in the first place. She shares how it would have saved her lots of money, heartache and aimlessness, and wasted years. It is also inspiring to see someone so lost and unsure of who they were in the end getting on track and really, truly making something of their life. The free verse format makes situations that could have been very harrowing or startling a little less so, but still conveys a powerful message. Recommended to high schoolers struggling with where they belong or a little too obsessed with "that school" being the answer to all their hopes and dreams. Notes on content: No language issues. No sexual content. (She talks about having boyfriends but no intimacy mentioned.) Riot violence, a murder at a concert, threats of violence from people she lived with, and random violence on campus. Nothing is gorily described. Drug use is mentioned a few times. Engle admits to trying some, but overall the picture she paints of drug users is decidedly not positive.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    I have written before that I find the most effective way to share and discuss any historical event, and the nuances and effects of those events, is through novels—the power of story. I credit what knowledge and understandings I have of the history and people of Cuba to Margarita Engle’s many verse novels and her first memoir Enchanted Air; reading this memoir was the first time I understood the Cuban Missile Crisis. I read Engle’s new memoir, a continuation of Enchanted Air, which covers the year I have written before that I find the most effective way to share and discuss any historical event, and the nuances and effects of those events, is through novels—the power of story. I credit what knowledge and understandings I have of the history and people of Cuba to Margarita Engle’s many verse novels and her first memoir Enchanted Air; reading this memoir was the first time I understood the Cuban Missile Crisis. I read Engle’s new memoir, a continuation of Enchanted Air, which covers the years 1966-1973. This was more reminiscing, than learning, about the lifestyle and events. As a reader of about the same age of young adult Margarita and possibly crossing paths at some point, I am quite familiar with that time period. Engle depicts a feeling of duality as she longs for Cuba, home of her “invisible twin,” now that travel is forbidden for North Americans. Readers witness firsthand the era of hippies, an unpopular war, draft notices, drugs, and Martin Luther King’s speeches and assassination, riots, Cambodia, picket lines, as they follow 17-year-old bell-bottomed Margarita from her senior year of high school to her first university experience, fascinating college courses, books, unfortunate choices of boyfriends, dropping out, travel, homelessness, homecoming, college, agricultural studies, and finally, love. At one point young Margarita as a member of a harsh creative writing critique group says, “If I ever scribble again, I’ll keep every treasured word secret.” (31). Thank goodness she didn’t. This beautifully written verse novel shares her story—and a bit of history—through poetry in many formats, including tanka, haiku, concrete, and the power of words.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Virginia McGee Butler

    Following Enchanted Air, Margarita Engle’s memoir of her early years, I felt like she had stopped before the story ended. How wonderful when I was able to beg an advance reading copy of the sequel, Soaring Earth, from Net Galley! In her gift of being able to combine beautiful poetry with the story she is telling, Margarita takes us through her search to know who she is as she comes of age in California in all the unease of a war in Vietnam and protest movements with the additional challenge of w Following Enchanted Air, Margarita Engle’s memoir of her early years, I felt like she had stopped before the story ended. How wonderful when I was able to beg an advance reading copy of the sequel, Soaring Earth, from Net Galley! In her gift of being able to combine beautiful poetry with the story she is telling, Margarita takes us through her search to know who she is as she comes of age in California in all the unease of a war in Vietnam and protest movements with the additional challenge of what to do with her traditional Cuban heritage. A few samples of her words will give a taste of her writing. In an early boy/girl encounter with an ROTC student – “I’m Cuban American. / He’s Mexican American. Close enough.” Looking at the political situation and longing for the days when she can return to Cuba to visit the land and her relatives as she did when she was younger – “For such a small place / Cuba seems to have a / way / of gripping the whole world’s / atencion.” In the LSD college culture – “I’ll never look at a guy again, not when there’s / so great a chance that he’ll die in Vietnam / or stay / and overdose.” I found commonality and satisfaction in her drop out from the University of California Berkley that was both too expensive and too big and her eventual discovery of her way to a community college that was both affordable and had personalized attention. I’ll not spoil the ending of the memoir except to say that it was good and satisfying. I only had one quarrel with the book that goes on sale on February 26. It ended before I was ready to leave. Maybe her young adulthood could be a third in this series?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    The award-winning author returns with a companion book to her memoir Enchanted Air. In this book, Engle writes in verse about her time in high school. Margarita thinks often of her time in her childhood spent in Cuba, but now that world is entire inaccessible to her and her family. As she attends high school in Los Angeles, Margarita dreams of traveling the world. She is also involved in the unrest of the 1960s as the issues of war, peace, civil rights, and freedom cause protests. Engle finishes The award-winning author returns with a companion book to her memoir Enchanted Air. In this book, Engle writes in verse about her time in high school. Margarita thinks often of her time in her childhood spent in Cuba, but now that world is entire inaccessible to her and her family. As she attends high school in Los Angeles, Margarita dreams of traveling the world. She is also involved in the unrest of the 1960s as the issues of war, peace, civil rights, and freedom cause protests. Engle finishes high school and goes on to find her own winding path through college on her own terms. It is a memoir filled with hope, longing for peace, and a discovery of personal identity. Engle is the national Young People’s Poet Laureate, a well-deserved honor given her body of work for children and teens. This second memoir takes a long look at the 1960s in America and the tensions between war and peace. She doesn’t shrink away from topics such as drug use. Her own path to a college degree will also help young people who may be wondering whether they have to go to Ivy League schools to succeed. The joy of finding teachers who are passionate and supportive eclipses the need for the school to be acclaimed. As always Engle’s writing is exceptional. Here with the personal lens, it is all the more powerful and moving. There are poems that are intensely personal and others that take a less immediate and more philosophical view. The play of the two together allows the book to give a real look at her time growing up and the times of her youth. Another amazing read by Engle, a poet to be celebrated. Appropriate for ages 13-17.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jane Healy

    Margarita Engle's follow-up to Enchanting Air covers in memoir-in-verse the years 1966-1973, after she graduates from high school. Half-Cuban, half-American, but a US citizen, where did she fit in? Her poetry expresses her confusion about her direction, her personality, her purpose, and her culture. She attends UC Berkeley and gets involved with people who do drugs, losing friends to overdoses. Often mistaken for a woman of Mexican heritage, she is recruited for Hispanic civil rights efforts. Sh Margarita Engle's follow-up to Enchanting Air covers in memoir-in-verse the years 1966-1973, after she graduates from high school. Half-Cuban, half-American, but a US citizen, where did she fit in? Her poetry expresses her confusion about her direction, her personality, her purpose, and her culture. She attends UC Berkeley and gets involved with people who do drugs, losing friends to overdoses. Often mistaken for a woman of Mexican heritage, she is recruited for Hispanic civil rights efforts. She feels shy and cowardly, without the bravery needed for such a fight. She drops out of college, and wanders penniless from coast to coast, trying this and that. She realizes that she is going further and further from the two things that mean the most to her--poetry and nature. So she goes home to California, lives with her parents, and begins again, this time at a community college that meets her needs and ignites her passions for poetry and science, especially botany. The message of perseverance, persistence, peace, and hope permeate this memoir, and would inspire young readers. Engle has gone on to receive many awards for her writing, including being named the Young People's Poet Laureate for 2018. Using the beautiful language of poetry, this book tells how she got there. As she concludes her poem "Perplexity," "Somehow, confusion often leads/toward clarity."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Madeline McBeth

    I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love books in verse! This book was super intriguing to me in a number of ways. Not only did I appreciate the fact that it was written in poetry and therefore much easier for me to stay engaged with, but I also loved how unique the perspective was. The protagonist (the author, Margarita) is a teenage girl, an immigrant from Cuba, a book worm, a hippie, and an activist living and struggling through the turbulent 1960's. I see this story, this memoir, as so I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love books in verse! This book was super intriguing to me in a number of ways. Not only did I appreciate the fact that it was written in poetry and therefore much easier for me to stay engaged with, but I also loved how unique the perspective was. The protagonist (the author, Margarita) is a teenage girl, an immigrant from Cuba, a book worm, a hippie, and an activist living and struggling through the turbulent 1960's. I see this story, this memoir, as sort of filling in the gaps of misrepresentation; because Margarita's is a story that we have never really heard or seen in-depth before. I did think it was interesting though that the novel seemed less about her Cuban heritage and more about just her general search for identity. But maybe her being Cuban American has something to do with that? Maybe she doesn’t know who she is or where she fits because she hasn’t seen someone like herself represented around her? Maybe she doesn't have a Cuban American image to grab hold of and to ground her? Maybe this is what Margarita wanted to provide for her readers with the book? Either way, when a novel can ignite this kind of critical thought, I know it has done its job, and it has done it well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    For teens and up. Powerful quotes: -"Bookworm. / There are so many ways of looking / at the winged future of a crawling caterpillar." - p. 9 - "I'm shocked when the reading list / for world literature class is limited to Europe, / so I dare to read the Mahabharata from India, / Octavio Paz from Mexico, and anonymous / ancient poems from Japan, claiming my right / to explore / the whole globe. / When I turn in reports on books / from my own independent reading list, / the teacher is surprised, but s For teens and up. Powerful quotes: -"Bookworm. / There are so many ways of looking / at the winged future of a crawling caterpillar." - p. 9 - "I'm shocked when the reading list / for world literature class is limited to Europe, / so I dare to read the Mahabharata from India, / Octavio Paz from Mexico, and anonymous / ancient poems from Japan, claiming my right / to explore / the whole globe. / When I turn in reports on books / from my own independent reading list, / the teacher is surprised, but she agrees / that it makes sense, and she accepts / my suggestions, even though they're / outlaws from beyond / the small-minded curriculum." - p. 29 -"Now that she's working in a store, I have to do / a lot more cooking and cleaning, but the effort / is worthwhile, because my mother finally feels / like her brother's / equal." - p. 33 -"Peaceful protests are slow, but worthwhile. I feel certain that Chavez will succeed / in this situation where violence / might fail. / By the time I return to campus / I've learned two real-life lessons; / patience / faith." - p. 72 -"Why do I imagine / that in order to accomplish anything, / all my feeble, trial-and-error efforts / need to be / perfect?" - p. 115

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lollie George

    This is Margarita Engle's autobiographical account of her growing up in America as a first generation Cuban American. The summers she spends with her Grandmother in Cuba, create a conflicting pull between what is important to her Cuban culture and what she is trying to fit into in America. Told in free verse, Engle describes her desire to travel and learn about the world, but not knowing how to make that happen. How can the opportunities for education in America help her achieve her dreams? She This is Margarita Engle's autobiographical account of her growing up in America as a first generation Cuban American. The summers she spends with her Grandmother in Cuba, create a conflicting pull between what is important to her Cuban culture and what she is trying to fit into in America. Told in free verse, Engle describes her desire to travel and learn about the world, but not knowing how to make that happen. How can the opportunities for education in America help her achieve her dreams? She shares how the issues of the time, the Vietnam War, the environment, and freedom of speech push and pull her into different relationships, classes, and cities. Some of her choices are not helpful. Seeing is searching for her Cuban cultures meaning for her as an American. I think this would resonate more with high school students who are closer to making decisions for life after high school, than middle school students. This is the companion to her memoir Enchanted Air, which I haven't read, yet. As a grown woman of the 60s, I understood and related to the story more than I think many Millennials or GenXers will.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bryce Rowe

    This book is an amazing insight into how a girl finds who she is. I loved how this was a memoir and very realistic. I appreciated the upfront and explicitness of how she wrote her story. As I was reading, I tried to identify different problems or circumstances that were specific to her cuban heritage. There really weren't that many, apart from her family being discriminated against by being called gusanos and her desire to go back to Cuba. I felt like the majority of her problems were her search This book is an amazing insight into how a girl finds who she is. I loved how this was a memoir and very realistic. I appreciated the upfront and explicitness of how she wrote her story. As I was reading, I tried to identify different problems or circumstances that were specific to her cuban heritage. There really weren't that many, apart from her family being discriminated against by being called gusanos and her desire to go back to Cuba. I felt like the majority of her problems were her search for identity--not her search for identity of a cuban in America and fitting in with the culture, but a girl who was searching for her purpose in life and how she could make a difference. I didn't feel like her first college experience was unique to a cuban, I think lots of people go through that self-finding and experiment with different things, groups, and people.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I liked her Enchanted Air, so I was excited to read this companion to that book. I loved the focus on Engle's teen and young adult years from 1966 - 1973. Like any teen, she struggles with identity and fulfilling her hopes and dreams, but Engle also struggles with two cultures and her place among them. Add the Vietnam War and her inability to visit Cuba as she once did, Engle explores a variety of topics prevalent during this time period. The title of each poem is perfect as is Engle's verse fic I liked her Enchanted Air, so I was excited to read this companion to that book. I loved the focus on Engle's teen and young adult years from 1966 - 1973. Like any teen, she struggles with identity and fulfilling her hopes and dreams, but Engle also struggles with two cultures and her place among them. Add the Vietnam War and her inability to visit Cuba as she once did, Engle explores a variety of topics prevalent during this time period. The title of each poem is perfect as is Engle's verse fiction/storytelling style for the poems. Despite all of her fears, worries, and uncertainties, Engle reminds us that hope and trust and courage are our weapons (and saving graces) against any struggles. There is a reason that Engle was the 2017 - 2019 Young People's Poet Laureate.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Margarita Engle, in this verse memoir companion to Enchanted Air, opens her life to readers from the vulnerable age of fourteen through her early college years. As a Cuban-American torn between the cultures of her heart during a time when the island nation of her heart is considered the enemy of her other self, Margarita finds refuge in words, nature, and the revolution of the 1960s. A wanderer who is often lost, she seeks herself within the chaotic world she is living in, longing for peace and Margarita Engle, in this verse memoir companion to Enchanted Air, opens her life to readers from the vulnerable age of fourteen through her early college years. As a Cuban-American torn between the cultures of her heart during a time when the island nation of her heart is considered the enemy of her other self, Margarita finds refuge in words, nature, and the revolution of the 1960s. A wanderer who is often lost, she seeks herself within the chaotic world she is living in, longing for peace and the courage to discover who she is. Vividly told with boldness and an authenticity that makes one weep, Engle’s memoir can stand alone but is a special treat for those who read her first work. Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    The language in this is beautiful and captivating. I would have appreciated a more detailed author's note about the historical events described- I felt I was missing a lot of context. Too, I haven't read Enchanted Air, so I also had the feeling of just being dropped into someone's diary with no preface when I picked up this book... I couldn't get a good grasp on Engle herself, or her family, etc. The verse format reveals major events in brief sketches with minimal detail, giving the sense that w The language in this is beautiful and captivating. I would have appreciated a more detailed author's note about the historical events described- I felt I was missing a lot of context. Too, I haven't read Enchanted Air, so I also had the feeling of just being dropped into someone's diary with no preface when I picked up this book... I couldn't get a good grasp on Engle herself, or her family, etc. The verse format reveals major events in brief sketches with minimal detail, giving the sense that we're drifting from one thing to another through the author's memories. It's beautiful, but difficult to relate to. Ah well. Even with these challenges, I still really enjoyed this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Margarita continues her life story in this poetic biography. I really enjoyed her account of how she navigated a dangerous time of unrest, war, and a lost generation. Her thirst for knowledge and nature keep her grounded even while she is searching and dealing with the loss of her homeland (Cuba). She honestly describes the dangers she faced being a part of the counter culture era of drugs, communes, protests, and free-loading. While not avoiding it all, she comes to find what she really wants a Margarita continues her life story in this poetic biography. I really enjoyed her account of how she navigated a dangerous time of unrest, war, and a lost generation. Her thirst for knowledge and nature keep her grounded even while she is searching and dealing with the loss of her homeland (Cuba). She honestly describes the dangers she faced being a part of the counter culture era of drugs, communes, protests, and free-loading. While not avoiding it all, she comes to find what she really wants and needs in life through all of the messiness.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wina

    Memoir in verse for ages 13 and up. This is beautiful and should be read with a little time for thinking and a breath as you read/between poems. Meaningful and thought-provoking, as well as a great first-person account of the period 1966-1973 with protests, the Vietnam war, feminism, the workers movement, etc. (And yes, Quakers are involved!) This covers her high school years through graduate school. Highly recommended, even if you haven't read the first book. Adults will much better understand Memoir in verse for ages 13 and up. This is beautiful and should be read with a little time for thinking and a breath as you read/between poems. Meaningful and thought-provoking, as well as a great first-person account of the period 1966-1973 with protests, the Vietnam war, feminism, the workers movement, etc. (And yes, Quakers are involved!) This covers her high school years through graduate school. Highly recommended, even if you haven't read the first book. Adults will much better understand the historical context. I hope that youth will ask about/learn about the things she mentions.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annie Jones-Henson

    As always Margarita Engle, Young People's Poet Laureate gives her stunning memoir of high school and college. Growing from fear and impossibilities to freedom and courage. The courage to learn who she was/is and the bravery it took coming into adulthood being Cuban in the midst of of the sexual, drug infested era of the Vietnam War. Truly, you must also read her childhood memoir, "Enchanted Air". You will grow to love her, and hunger for anything she writes! As always Margarita Engle, Young People's Poet Laureate gives her stunning memoir of high school and college. Growing from fear and impossibilities to freedom and courage. The courage to learn who she was/is and the bravery it took coming into adulthood being Cuban in the midst of of the sexual, drug infested era of the Vietnam War. Truly, you must also read her childhood memoir, "Enchanted Air". You will grow to love her, and hunger for anything she writes!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    Isn't it laudable when a dyslexic like me can read 165 pages in 45 minutes? While I enjoy this second memoire of Margarita Engle as much as the first (Enchanted Air), the free verse seems too laconic for me. As a reader I just want more than the glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of one reconciling their life experiences. Still, I would readily recommend this book to my students as a way to broaden their horizon. Isn't it laudable when a dyslexic like me can read 165 pages in 45 minutes? While I enjoy this second memoire of Margarita Engle as much as the first (Enchanted Air), the free verse seems too laconic for me. As a reader I just want more than the glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of one reconciling their life experiences. Still, I would readily recommend this book to my students as a way to broaden their horizon.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    This is a great look into the challenges that young adults face. It also represents a successful navigation of those challenges. Although it is presented as a companion to her earlier memoir poem collection, Enchanted Air, it quite easily can stand alone. I think that it is universal enough to reach all readers. It did specifically speak to me because I am close to the author in age and experienced the history that she portrays in these poems firsthand.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Destiny Bridwell

    I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. It has been awhile since I have read a memoir. I know this is a companion book to another book she has written. I love the way that she describes things and how she relies each memory. There were moments that I could relate to and that made me feel closer to the author. That is something that I enjoy when it comes to reading genres like this one. 

  27. 5 out of 5

    JennLynn

    Didn’t enjoy this one at all. Not nearly as magical or compelling as the first volume. It seemed more disjointed and rambling, as well as pretty negative overall (though the note in the afterward did help rationalize things). Didn’t give a completely balanced picture of the Cuban Revolution either; ignoring good elements that came out of it including a far higher literacy rate, and number of doctors per capita (plus free health care) than in the U.S. Left me feeling depressed - not soaring.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Verse novel about author's high school/college/life experiences during the late 60's and early 70's. Talks about drug use by friends and the protests and rebellions of the time. Author meant it as a work to inspire kids to take their time to discover what they want to study, what is important to them, and who they are. However, it read more like a what not to do. Not impressed. Verse novel about author's high school/college/life experiences during the late 60's and early 70's. Talks about drug use by friends and the protests and rebellions of the time. Author meant it as a work to inspire kids to take their time to discover what they want to study, what is important to them, and who they are. However, it read more like a what not to do. Not impressed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Dawson

    Quick read that deals with a ton of heavy issues and real historical events during her lifetime. While I enjoyed it, I feel as though it was too brief. The events and people mentioned are familiar to adults, but so quickly mentioned and then moves on that it requires a teenager to do a lot of research on their own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Despite the author’s note about her desire to show young people that college can be about community college and not big name universities. Also going to college amidst the backdrop of the Vietnam War and that young people today do not know life without war. I’m not convinced young people will find this memoir sequel interesting.

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