Soaring Earth

In this follow-up to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Margarita Engle details her teenage years in Los Angeles against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam War. In vulnerable verse, she addresses the notions of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection that are once again under threat. Despite these circumstances, young Margarita was able to find solace and empowerment through her education.

The Victoria In My Head

Shy fifteen-year-old Cuban American Victoria Cruz feels trapped by the monotony of running on the cross country team and keeping up with her studies to maintain her scholarship to her prestigious college prep school, but the chance to join a rock band in need of a lead singer gives her the opportunity to confront her anxieties, find love and disappointment, and create a new playlist for her life.

Enchanted Air

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.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 8, Issue 3

La Noche Buena

Nina is visiting her grandmother in Miami for Christmas. Usually she spends it in snowy New England with her mother and her family, but this year is different. She isn’t certain what to make of a hot and humid holiday, until she learns the traditions of her father’s side of the family from her Cuban grandmother. She helps prepare for the evening and takes part in all their traditions—the intricate cooking for the feast, the dancing, the music, and the gathering of relatives and neighbors. It all comes together for a Noche Buena that Nina will never forget.   Antonio Sacre and Angela Dominguez have created a wonderful story that everyone who celebrates Christmas will enjoy. The book includes a glossary of Spanish words.

Dark Dude

He didn’t say good-bye. He didn’t leave a phone number. And he didn’t plan on coming back – ever.

In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn’t make him the “dark dude” or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it’s really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he’s Latino, he almost stops being one. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid’s life, because there are some things that can’t be left behind, that can’t be cut loose or forgotten. These are the things that will be with you forever…. These are the things that will follow you a thousand miles away.

For anyone who loved The Outsiders — and for anyone who’s ever felt like one — Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos brings to life a haunting choice and an unforgettable journey about identity, misidentity, and all that we take with us when we run away.

El Lector

Thirteen-year-old Bella wants to be a lector just like her grandfather. All day long he sits on a special platform in the cigar factory in Ybor City, Florida, reading books, newspapers, and current events to workers as they roll the cigars. Lectors have always been highly respected members of their Cuban American community.But now times are changing. When the factory workers clash with the owners, violence erupts and the lectors start losing their jobs. And then there’s the radio. Could this small device replace the lector? It’s up to Bella to determine her future and help her people preserve their history.

Birthday In The Barrio/Cumpleanos En El Barrio

barrioIn this second bilingual book by author Mayra L. Dole, lively, determined Chavi sets off on yet another Miami adventure. This time it’s a fifteenth birthday party for her buddy Rosario’s sister that sends her swooshing through her Cuban American neighborhood, recruiting children and grownups to help in the planning and cooking. Once again Chavi proves that she can bring an entire community together for a heartfelt and ultimately very special event.Mayra L. Dole’s bouncy prose and Tonel’s bright, witty watercolors will delight readers who know and love Chavi, as well as those who are discovering this amazing eight-year-old heroine for the first time.