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
Join Margarita at these events:
- September 12, 2015
Margarita will be speaking to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, at the downtown Fresno Library, in the McCardle Room, from 1:00-3:00 pm
- September 17, 2015
Margarita will be one of the invited speakers at the 2015 Américas Award teacher workshop "Civil Rights through the Américas Award", at Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C., from 5:30-9:00 pm. More info and registration here.
- September 18, 2015
Margarita will be accepting the Américas Award for Silver People at the Américas Award Ceremony, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., at 3:00pm. The public is invited.
- October 16, 2015
Margarita will be accepting a Jane Addams Honor for Silver People at the Jane Addams Award Ceremony, at the Jane Addams Peace Association in New York, at 2:30pm. The public is invited.
- October 17, 2015
Margarita will be speaking at the IBBY Regional Conference in New York, on an international verse book panel.
- 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
Upcoming Books (2015)
April 2015                                     August 2015
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
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:
- Selected as Vamos a Leer Featured Title.
- Starred review from Shelf Awareness.
- Book Page interview with Margarita Engle on 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
Enchanted Air is a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2015.
April 28, 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!
- Picture Book Parade with Drum Dream Girl!
- Starred review from Kirkus Book Review!
- Listed as one of the picture books parents will actuallly want to read over and over.
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.
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.
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
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.
Listen to Margarita's interview with Sarah L'Estrange from Australia's ABC radio network on Silver People.
Reviews and Honors:
- Latinos In KidLit's great review of The Lightning Dreamer
- New South Wales Teachers Federation's (Australia) Education journal featured a review on Silver People.
- Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year 2014 selection includes Margarita's The Lightning Dreamer (12-14, historical fiction category) and Mountain Dog (9-12, adventures and mystery category).
June 2, 2014
Margarita guest post at Latinos In KidLit on her passion for writing about hope and forgotten heroes.
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.
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
Silver People will be published in Australia by the University of Queensland Press. Check out the beautiful cover!
March 6, 2014
Mountain Dog has been named a 2014 -2015 Georgia Book Award Nominee.
Margarita is profiled as one of the poets on Sylvia Vardell's new book, Poetry Aloud Here: Sharing Poetry with Children.
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.
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.