hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Margarita Engle

Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of the Newbery Honor verse novel, The Surrender Tree, Pura Belpré Award-winning verse memoir, Enchanted Air, and Charlotte Zolotow Award winning picture book, Drum Dream Girl. Other honors include multiple Pura Belpré Medals, Américas Awards, PEN USA Award, Jane Addams Award, Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor, and International Reading Association Award.

 

☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Café con leche (coffee with milk), made with a mixture of Cuban espresso (Café La Llave brand) and Italian roast (Starbucks brand). I love REALLY strong coffee, but I only drink it in the morning, so it doesn’t keep me awake at night. Maybe that’s why I do most of my writing early, before my brain runs out of caffeine.

* Cultural Note: many Latino children are introduced to café con leche at the age of two, so why aren’t there any children’s books about coffee? If I thought I could get it published, I would write one! My Abuelita (grandma) used to scold me for not serving my son coffee when he was little. She said, “¡Es un hombrecito, necesita su café!” (He’s a little man, he needs his coffee!)

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir (Atheneum, 2015); Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, illustrated by Rafael Lopez (HMH, 2015); The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist, illustrated by Aliona Bereghici (Two Lions, 2015); Orangutanka: A Story in Poems, illustrated by Renee Kurilla (Henry Holt, 2015). Forthcoming: Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words (Atheneum, August 2016) — a verse novel about the nonviolent freedom struggle of indentured Chinese laborers; and Morning Star Horse/El Caballo Lucero (HBE Publishers, Autumn 2016) — a middle grade historical fantasy about Cuban children at San Diego’s Raja Yoga Academy.

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Three Golden Oranges by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Reg Cartwright (Atheneum, 2012); Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt, 2012); Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Hayelin Choi (Readers to Eaters, 2014).

☕ Visit Margarita Engle’s Official Website

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Short poems related to the [above] photograph of myself drinking café con leche beside my father’s painting of my mother picking pomegranates. She was wearing sandals, but he left them out, and I have chosen to speculate about the reason.

 

Coffee Tanka

each hot sip
of café con leche
carries me
traveling back to childhood
watching as grownups savor time

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Pomegranate Tanka

my father
paints her harvesting pomegranates—
barefoot
the reality of shoes
too modern for this lush garden

~ Copyright © 2016 Margarita Engle. All rights reserved.

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☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Enjoy this book trailer for The Sky Painter!

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☕☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY:  Speaking of Margarita’s parents, she explains the romantic story of how they met in the first of this series of videos:

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Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

15 thoughts on “hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Margarita Engle

  1. I agree with our talented hotTEA; the very best coffee in the world is Cuban cafe con leche from Miami – I suspect it’d be even more amazing in Cuba itself. And I don’t like coffee, so that’s saying something! Indeed, one does “savor time” when one drinks that. Yum.

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