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L.A. Libros Fest: Interview With Margarita Engle

Phoebe Swan Guiot, Senior Librarian, Teen’Scape,
Margarita Engle and her books, Your Heart, My Sky and A Song of Frutas
Margarita Engle will be one of the featured authors at the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family

Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, memoirs, and picture books, including The Surrender Tree, Enchanted Air, Drum Dream Girl, and Dancing Hands. Awards include a Newbery Honor, Pura Belpré, Golden Kite, Walter, Jane Addams, and NSK Neustadt, among others. Margarita served as the national 2017-2019 Young People’s Poet Laureate. Her most recent books include Your Heart, My Sky, A Song of Frutas, and Light for All. Margarita was born in Los Angeles but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives on the island. She studied agronomy and botany along with creative writing and now lives in central California with her husband.

Margarita Engle will be one of the featured authors at the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family. L.A. Libros Fest will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Our theme this year is Imagine a Better World. How do you think your books and stories help us accomplish this?

I love to imagine freedom, justice, and above all, peace.
Me encanta imaginar la libertad, la justicia, y sobre todo la paz.

What are some of the things you do to bring to life the world you’ve imagined?

With poetry I can imagine anything, because for me, poetry is music. I can sing a hopeful future.
Con la poesía puedo imaginar cualquier cosa, porque para mí la poesía es música. Puedo cantar un futuro de la esperanza.

What stories inspired you as a young reader?

I read stories about animals and nature.
Leí cuentos de animales y la naturaleza.

What advice would you give to young writers?

If you want to write, you need to read.
Si quieres escribir, hay que leer.

How did you feel the first time your work was published? How was your publishing journey?

I felt that I had entered a world of marvelous dreams.
Sentí que había entrado a un mundo de sueños maravillosos.

"The library is a refuge from any trouble. There, wonders are discovered."

What are the challenges of writing for young readers?

The most difficult part is never allowing myself to get discouraged.
Lo más difícil es nunca me permito estar desanimada.

What was your experience like getting your book translated into Spanish or English?

It's an honor to have magnificent translations by Alexis Romay, a Cuban poet.
Es un honor tener las traducciones magníficas de Alexis Romay, un poeta cubano.

How do you think libraries make our world a better place?

The library is a refuge from any trouble. There, wonders are discovered.
La biblioteca es un refugio de cualquier problema. Ahí se encuentran maravillas.

What are you working on now?

My next verse novel is Rima's Rebellion. It's the history of suffragists in Cuba during the 1920s.
Mi próximo novela en verso se llama La rebelión de Rima. Es la historia de las sufragistas de Cuba en los años 1920s.

Margarita Engle

Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger
Engle, Margarita

Un pregón de frutas
Engle, Margarita

De la autora ganadora del Premio Pura Belpré, Margarita Engle, llega un animado y rítmico libro ilustrado sobre una niña que visita a su abuelo, que es un pregonero, un vendedor ambulante que canta en Cuba, y lo ayuda a vender sus frutas.

Margarita Engle at L.A. Libros Fest

Sep 25, 11:30am
See Your World in a Story / Mi mundo en un cuento: Margarita Engle, Monica Brown y Yehudi Mercado