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Margarita Headshot

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 © Sandra Ríos Balderrama

Upcoming Appearances

Join Margarita at these events:

  • April 7-8, 2016
    Margarita will be speaking at the Virginia Hamilton Conference at Kent State University, in Ohio
  • June 26, 2016
    Margarita will receive the Pura Belpré Medal at the ALA Annual Conference 20th Anniversary Celebration in Orlando, Florida.

Don't Miss...

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


January 26, 2016

Awards and Honors:

  • Enchanted Air won the Pura Belpré Award for text. It will be presented at ALA in Orlando on June 26, 1-4 PM, during the 20th Anniversary Pura Belpré Celebración.
  • Enchanted Air was selected as YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist
  • Enchanted Air won a Walter Award Honor from We Need Diverse Books. It will be presented at the Library of Congress on March 18.
  • Drum Dream Girl won the Pura Belpré Award for illustration. Congratulations to Rafael López!
  • Drum Dream Girl won the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book writing of 2015. It will be presented at the University of Madison, Wisconsin, on April 9.
  • Drum Dream Girl was selected as Asian Pacific American Library Association Children's Book Awards Honor
  • Drum Dream Girl is an Amelia Bloomer Top 10 of 2016
  • Drum Dream Girl is a 2016 Notable Book for a Global Society, International Literacy Association

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.

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