Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many young adult verse novels about the island, including THE SURRENDER TREE, which received the first Newbery Honor ever awarded to a Latino author, and THE LIGHTNING DREAMER, recipient of the 2014 PEN USA Award. Her books have also received multiple Pura Belpré Awards and Honors, Américas Awards, Jane Addams Awards and Honors, International Reading Association Award, Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, and many others.

Margarita grew up in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during summers with her extended family in Cuba. ENCHANTED AIR, Two Cultures, Two Wings is a verse memoir about those childhood visits.


Margarita was trained as a botanist and agronomist before becoming a full-time poet and novelist. She lives in central California, where she enjoys hiding in the wilderness to help train her husband’s search and rescue dogs.


Photo © Marshall W. Johnson


Upcoming Appearances

Join Margarita at these events:

  • November 14, 2015
    Margarita will be the guest author at Good Books Good Friends meeting at Petunia's Place Bookstore in Fresno, CA, at 10:15 am.
  • November 21-22, 2015
    Margarita will be speaking on two panels, at the National Council of Teachers of English in Minneapolis, MN.
  • November 23, 2015
    Margarita will be speaking on a diversity panel, at the ALAN in Minneapolis, MN.
  • April 7-8 2016
    Margarita will be speaking at the Virginia Hamilton Conference at Kent State University, in Ohio

Don't Miss...

Upcoming Books (2015)

The Sky Painter Cover Enchanted Air Cover

April 2015                                     August 2015

Orangutanka Cover Drum Dream Girl Cover

March 2015                                    March 2015

Order Signed Book!

Place an order for a personalized and signed copy of one of Margarita's books through A Book Barn bookstore

Book Trailers and Videos

Book trailer for The Sky Painter by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Aliona Bereghici

Download The Sky Painter activity kit

Book trailer for Orangutanka by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Renee Kurilla

Book trailer for Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López

Margarita's video interview for Mountain Dog as a finalist for the Texas Bluebonnet Award (Cinematographer: Marshall W. Johnson)

The official book trailer for Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish

November 8, 2015

Recent wonderful reviews for Enchanted Air:

October 30, 2015

Enchanted Air has been given the 2015 Eureka! Gold Awards book by the California Reading Association.

October 26, 2015

Margarita contributed on a blog article at Latin@s in Kid Lit, on About that Embargo.

The 2015 Cybils Award nominees includes four of Margarita's books, Enchanted Air, Drum Dream Girl, The Sky Painter, and Orangutanka.

October 4, 2015

The Kindle edition of The Sky Painter is included in the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program. It is a reading program set up by teachers in classrooms to motivate children to read by rewarding their reading accomplishments with praise, recognition and pizza.

September 2, 2015

Tiny Rabbit’s Big Wish has been nominated for the 2015-2016 Florida Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award.

August 11, 2015

Highlighted reviews for Enchanted Air:

A nice review of The Silver People from De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children

June 30, 2015

Margarita was at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco on June 27 & 28. She was on the Diversity Dynamism panel and signing her new books, Enchanted Air, The Sky Painter, and Drum Dream Girl.

June 23, 2015

Nice review of Drum Dream Girl from Latin@s in Kid Lit.

Scholastic's Instructor magazine featured Drum Dream Girl in its annual summer reading list for students, and featured on the Washington Post education blog

From Librarian's Quest, a great review of The Sky Painter.

May 8, 2015

The Sky Painter is featured as one of the books on School Library Journal's spotlight article

Wonderful review from Booklist for Orangutanka. Read the review here!

Enchanted Air is a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2015.

April 28, 2015

Enchanted Air has received another starred review from the School Library Journal. Read the review here

Great reviews on The Sky Painter from Publishers Weekly and Great Kid Books.

April 18, 2015

Enchanted Air has received an early starred review from Kirkus Book Review!

The Sky Painter was selected as one of Teaching For Change's recommended book

April 13, 2015

Read Kirkus' feature article on Drum Dream Girl and women's right, with the book's author, Margarita Engle, and illustrator, Rafael López.

More Drum Dream Girl News!

March 21, 2015

Margarita's book,Silver People, has been honored as one of the 2015 Best Children's Books of the Year from Bank Street Center for Children's Literature and NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts.

March 18, 2015

Drum Dream Girl are featured as one of the Children's Book Council Hot Off the Press List for March 2015 and Cooperative Children's Book Center's Recomended Book of the Week.

Margarita's poems are featured on recently released books, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and Been There, Done That: Writing Stories from Real Life.

February 18, 2015

Margarita was on the Award Winning Latino Author panel at the California School Library Association Centennial, in San Francisco, on February 5.

Review of Margarita's picture book, The Sky Painter from De Colores website.

Review of Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish from Wonders in the Dark website.

Drum Dream Girl, one of Margarita's new books for 2015, received a starred review on the January issue of School Library Journal

November 22, 2014

Paperback edition of The Lightning Dreamer will be released by Harcourt in Fall 2015.

October 15, 2014

Margarita Skyped with Woodstock School in Georgia, where Mountain Dog is a finalist for the Peach award.

September 13, 2014

  • Mountain Dog received the first Americas Latino Book Award at the Americas Latino Ecos-Festival, in Denver, CO. This is a new award that recognize literature that reconnects children to nature.
  • Silver People was listed on the ABC BestBooks for Chilidren, from the American Booksellers Association (ABA)
  • The Lightning Dreamer is a 2015-2016 Nebraska Golden Sower List nominee

August 28, 2014

Margarita is named the winner of the 2014 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult/Children's Literature category for her book, The Lightning Dreamer

July 17, 2014

New video of Margarita from The University of Arizona's Poetry Center, as part of their Spring Reading Series.

Rave review of Silver People from Christian Science Monitor

July 10, 2014

Margarita will receive the Las Primeras Award for Arts and Literature, on July 24, in Washington, D.C., at the MANA conference and gala. The Las Primeras Awards are given in recognition of Latina "firsts." She's receiving it in recognition of The Surrender Tree's Newbery Honor, the first ever awarded to a Latina author.

June 13, 2014

Listen to Margarita's interview with Sarah L'Estrange from Australia's ABC radio network on Silver People.

June 6, 2014

Reviews and Honors:

June 2, 2014

Margarita guest post at Latinos In KidLit on her passion for writing about hope and forgotten heroes.

May 20, 2014

Three of Margarita's books received honors from International Latino Book Award 2014:

  • The Wild Book - Most Inspirational Young Adult Book (Second Prize)
  • The Lightning Dreamer - Best Young Adult Fiction Book, English (Honorable Mention)
  • Mountain Dog - Honorable Mention Best Youth Chapter Fiction Book, English (Honorable Mention)

Margarita's video lecture on poetry as vehicle of exploration is available on The University of Arizona's Poetry Center website.

May 19, 2014

The Lightning Dreamer is a 2014 NCTE Notable Book for the Language Arts.

Mountain Dog is on the School Library Journal Cultural Diversity Reading List and awarded the Roary Award by students of the Newbery Club at Mt. Kisco Elementary School in New York.
The paperback edition of Mountain Dog will be a selection at Scholastic Book Fairs.

May 16, 2014

Margarita Skyped with a Writing for Teachers class at James Madison University, on May 16.

On May 14, Margarita Skyped with students from the Mt. Kisco Elementary School Newbery Club, during their annual banquet

March 29, 2014

Silver People will be published in Australia by the University of Queensland Press. Check out the beautiful cover!

March 17, 2014

Mountain Dog, The Wild Boook and The Lightning Dreamer are selected as finalists for the International Latino Book Awards. The award ceremony will be at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas, on June 28.

March 6, 2014

Mountain Dog has been named a 2014 -2015 Georgia Book Award Nominee.

February 9, 2014

Margarita is profiled as one of the poets on Sylvia Vardell's new book, Poetry Aloud Here: Sharing Poetry with Children.

February 6, 2014

The Lightning Dreamer was selected as 2014 Pura Belpré Honor Book.

Margarita was inverviewed by Patricia Newman of California Kids. Follow this link to read the full article.

January 16, 2014

Check out the February 15 issue of Booklist for a starred review of Silver People from Michael Cart.

Lightning Dreamer has been selected for new honors such as International Reading Association Top Chapter Book for 2013 and ALSC Notable Children's Book for 2013. See more on this honor list.

January 6, 2014

Great review of Moutain Dog on Librarian's Quest.

Wonderful reviews of Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish on Publisher's Weekly and School Library Journal.

January 2, 2014

The Lightning Dreamer has been chosen as one of the Best 15 Latino Children's Books of 2013.

Follow the link to read Margarita's guest blog on courage for CrazyQuiltEdi, a blog to promote literacy for teens of color.

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