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Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American winner of the first Newbery Honor ever awarded to a Latino. Her award winning young adult novels in verse include The Surrender Tree, The Poet Slave of Cuba, Tropical Secrets, and The Firefly Letters.

Engle’s most recent books are The Lightning Dreamer and When You Wander.
Her new middle grade chapter book, Mountain Dog, was published in August 2013. Margarita's newest book, Silver People, Voices From the Panama Canal, released in 2014.

She lives in central California, where she enjoys helping her husband with his volunteer work for wilderness search and rescue dog training programs.

Photo © Marshall W. Johnson


Upcoming Appearances

Join Margarita at these events:

    2014 Events:
  • July 17, 2014
    Margarita will be speaking and signing at the San Joaquin River Parkway, in Fresno, as part of the Respite By the River series.
  • July 24, 2014
    Margarita will be receiving Las Primeras Award at the MANA Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • September 12-13, 2014
    Margarita will be one of the featured author at the Americas Latino Eco-Festival in Denver and Boulder, CO.
  • September 18-20, 2014
    Margarita has been invited to speak at the ALSC National Institute Conference in Oakland.

Don't Miss...

The official book trailer for Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish

The official book trailer for Mountain Dog

Follow this link to hear Margarita sharing some of the backstory for The Wild Book.

More of Margarita's video interview with Colorín Colorado at their website.

Margarita's appearance at the at the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

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.

December 24

The Lightning Dreamer has been chosen by the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature as a Best Multicultural Book of 2013.

The Lightning Dreamer is a Teaching for Change 2013 Favorite

December 13

The Lightning Dreamer has been named one of School Library Journal's Top Ten Latino-themed Books for 2013.

Silver People advanced review:

  • Author Angelica Carpenter posted a five star advance review of Silver people on Goodreads (and shared it on her facebook page).
  • The December issue of VOYA will have a VOYA Perfect Ten (5Q/5P) advance review of Silver people!
  • The December issue of Anansesem will have an interview with Margarita, about Silver People.
  • The December issue of Rethinking Schools.

November 20

  • Margarita's newest book, Silver People, Voices From the Panama Canal, will be a Junior Library Guild selection in their Spring 2014 catalog.
  • Book update: Tiny Rabbit's BIG WISH, Margarita's new picture book that will be released in March 2014 by Harcourt, will also be published in Japan, by Iwasaki.
  • Mountain Dog has been selected as one of the Kirkus Best Book of the Year for 2013!
  • Wonderful review of The Wild Book and Tropical Secrets, on De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children website.

November 10

Mountain Dog received the Parent's Choice Award Silver Honor in the fiction category.

Margarita is this month's guest blogger for Authors for Earth Day website. Follow the link to read her article, Voices from a Tropical Rain Forest.

October 30

Mountain Dog has been nominated for the Middle Grade Fiction category of the Cybils Award 2013

October 3

Margarita enjoyed a Skyped school visit to ESL and AP Spanish classes at Lake Park High School, Illinois.

September 20

  • Summer Birds has been selected for Scholastic's Quest For Knowledge science packet.
  • Margarita's upcoming book,Silver People, Voices From the Panama Canal will be published in Australia and New Zealand by the University of Queensland Press, along with U.S. publication by Harcourt, in 2014.
  • Both Hurricane Dancers and The Wild Book will be available in paperback in Fall 2013.
  • The Lightning Dreamer was featured in a video and interview on the No Water River poetry blog

September 17

August 5

Margarita has joined the community of friends of the Foundation Cuatrogatos. Her book, The Surrender Tree, is included among the 50 books for children and young people by Latin authors titled "De raíces y sueños", by Cuatrogatos and the CEPLI of the University of Castilla - La Mancha.

Margarita has also joined Authors For Earth Day. The organization provide assistance to teachers to host authors for an Earth Day school visit.

August 1

This is the beautiful new Korean (Borim Press) edition of Tropical Secrets. The cover is wonderfully redesigned while keeping the original artwork. It's great to see how far a book can travel!

The Lightning Dreamer has been nominated for YALSA's 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

July 31

Sneak Peek:

Check out Raúl Colón's spectacular cover art for Margarita's upcoming book, Silver People, Voices From the Panama Canal (2014).

July 28

Book Release Updates:

  • Margarita's newest book, Mountain Dog, have an official release date of August 27. Mark your calendar and contact your local bookstore to get your copy!
  • Paperback edition of Hurricane Dancers will be released by publisher Square Fish in winter 2014.

July 26

July 23

  • Margarita spoke to children at a North Fresno Church youth group about wilderness search and rescue dogs, and introduced her new book, Mountain Dog.
  • Check out Margarita's interview on her book When You Wander at Annemarie O'Brien's blog, Dog Reads, a blog that features interviews with authors who’ve written stories for kids with a key canine character.

July 17

Check out few of Margarita's favorite poetry books selection for younger and older children on Latinas4Literature's blog.

July 11, 2013

During the first week of July, Margarita served as a guest author for the University of Wisconsin's online course, Using Children's Literature to Explore Latin American/Latino Cultural Heritage. The Poet Slave of Cuba was the focus of class discussions.

June 17, 2013

June 10, 2013

Happy Caribbean-American Heritage Month!

May 24, 2013

Click here to read a new five star review of Margarita's new book,The Lightning Dreamer.

Great news! The Wild Book has been chosen as one of Bankstreet's Best Children's Book of the Year.

May 10, 2013

A new paperback edition of Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories, with a new and very cute cover, will be released on May 21.

Click here to get it!

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