Reviewed by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Enchanted Air offers a nuanced perspective on the conflict between the United States and Cuba that never loses sight of the personal, the perspective of a young girl seeking her voice and an understanding of who she is. Bullies terrify her; so does riding her first horse in Mexico, even though she has pestered her parents for years to let her ride a horse. When she skips grades in school because of her academic ability, she gets in over her head with a fast crowd of outcasts—the only classmates to accept her: “After I race away from that scary / first kiss, I have no hope for love, / or even like.” She is eleven at the time; the boy is 16. Her older friends drop out of school one by one—pregnant, drug addicted, on public assistance. Continue reading.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle
Illustrator: Edel Rodriguez
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Poetry, Immigration and Emigration
Reading Level: Grades 6-8, High School
Review Source: De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children
Buy at Powell's Books
Also by this author: The Sky Painter, Hurricane Dancers, Drum Dream Girl
Publisher's Synopsis: In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle 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?