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Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings

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Radwa Haggag

on 29 September 2016

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Transcript of Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings

Book Talk by Radwa Haggag
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings
A poetic memoir by Margarita Engle
First Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor
Winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award
Published August of 2015
A Poetic Memoir
The Cold War
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings
Through beautifully written poetic verses, Margarita Engle tells us of her difficult experience growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War
Margarita is divided between her enchanted Cuba, her mother's beautiful island where her "secret twin" resides; and Los Angeles, the noisy city of her father's continent in which she mostly lives
As a child, Margarita struggles in finding where she belongs; she is lonely and does not fit in with those around her, so she finds comfort through poetry and books of adventure
As tension between the United States and Cuba rises, Margarita is forced to live in fear for her beloved family; when diplomatic ties are broken, Margarita's internal struggle and desire to visit her beautiful island intensify
Excerpts from the Text
Two countries.
Two families.
Two sets of words.

Am I free to need both,
or will I always have to choose
only one way
of thinking?
- More and More meanings; Engle, 13

Books become my refuge.
Reading keeps me hopeful.
I fall in love with small poems,
the shorter the better--haiku
from Japan, and tiny rhymes
by Emily Dickinson.
My Library Life; Engle 129
Do I have to admit
that I'm half Cuban and half American,
or should I go even further, and explain
that Dad's parents were born in the Ukraine,
part of Soviet Russia?
Or am I just entirely American,
all the fractions left behind
by immigration from faraway nations?

What Am I?; Engle 43
Cuban Missile Crisis
Themes/ Points of Discussion
Margarita Engle struggles in determining who she is throughout this memoir of the first 14 years of her life. As a Cuban American growing up in the 1960s, Engle discovers things about herself and the world around her through travel and literature.
As Margarita Engle discovers the meaning of courage, bravery, and strength at an early age, she subconsciously questions the gender roles and power dynamic between men and women during this time period.
The Power of Words
Growing up, Margarita Engle finds comfort in books and poetry. Words become her savior, starting from her mother's recitation of traditional Cuban poems. Throughout this memoir, Engle shows us how words can be used politically as they are used beautifully.
A book for...
Middle Schoolers (7+)
History Lovers
Poetry Lovers
Those struggling with identity
Those who appreciate poetic devices & symbolism
More Specifically...
Those from immigrant parent(s)
Those who come from more than one family background
Those who comes from cultures that are not recognized in school curriculum
Those who do not fit in
Those who are self-conscience and/or self-critics
Final Thoughts
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings
is a beautifully written memoir that not only captures the beauty and power of words, but is relatable, educational, and enjoyable all in one. It captures the reader's mind and heart, creating a memorable experience of what literature is all about.
I never find any books
about the beautiful green
crocodile-shaped island
that throbs
at the center of my being,
like a living creature,
half heart
and half beast.

Maybe someday
I'll try
to write one.
- Engle 129
Full transcript