Margarita Engle Receives the 2016 Pura Belpré Author Award


Margarita Engle, author of Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, was named the 2016 Pura Belpré Author Award medalist. Mexican artist Rafael López won the 2016 Illustrator Award for his illustrations of another book by Margarita Engle, Drum Dream Girl. These awards were announced on January 11, 2016, by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

2016 Author Award Winner  
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
, written by Margarita Engle and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir brings us a memoir in free verse that conveys the story of growing up in two cultures during an era of great tension between the United States and Cuba. Poet Margarita Engle takes her young audience on a journey of longing. It is a story that touches on issues affecting numerous immigrant children today.

“Engle’s memoir of living in two cultures and the inability to cross the sky to visit family will resonate with youth facing similar circumstances,” said Pavon.


2016 Illustrator Award Winner
Drum Dream Girl
, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Drum Dream Girl is a tale about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl in 1930s Cuba,who became a world-renowned drummer. Rafael López’s flawless and detailed illustrations in acrylic paint on wood are warm and vibrant; dynamic, double spread renderings bring to life Millo’s story.

Rafael López’s masterful art brings to life the drumbeats in Margarita Engle’s story. His dreamy illustrations transport us to Millo’s tropical island,” said Pura Belpré Award Committee Chair Ana-Elba Pavon.

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