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Aire encantado (Enchanted Air)

Dos culturas, dos alas: una memoria

Translated by Alexis Romay

Now available in Spanish! In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award 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—sources of comfort 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 into 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?

Aire encantado (Enchanted Air) EL VUELO
La primera vez que mis padres

me llevan por los aires a través del mágico cielo

a conocer a la familia de mi madre en Cuba,

soy tan pequeña que apenas puedo hablar

con mis parientes:

mi abuelita,

a quien todavía le encanta bailar,

y su anciana mamá, mi bisabuela,

a quien todavía le encanta la jardinería y trabaja

tan duro como cualquier hombre

joven y fuerte.

Desde ya está isla comienza a lucir

como un reino de hadas

en el que la gente común y corriente

hace cosas

Photograph © Marshall W. Johnson

Margarita Engle is the Cuban American author of many books including the verse novels Rima’s RebellionYour Heart, My SkyWith a Star in My HandThe Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and The Lightning Dreamer. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, which received the Pura Belpré Award, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among others. Her picture books include Drum Dream GirlDancing Hands; and The Flying Girl. Visit her at

More books from this author: Margarita Engle