This gorgeously romantic contemporary novel-in-verse from award-winning author Margarita Engle tells the inspiring love story of two teens fighting for climate action and human rights.
Winged beings are meant to be free. And so are artists, but the Cuban government has criminalized any art that doesn’t meet their approval. Soleida and her parents protest this injustice with their secret sculpture garden of chained birds. Then a hurricane exposes the illegal art, and her parents are arrested.
Soleida escapes to Central America alone, joining the thousands of Cuban refugees stranded in Costa Rica while seeking asylum elsewhere. There she meets Dariel, a Cuban American boy whose enigmatic music enchants birds and animals—and Soleida.
Together they work to protect the environment and bring attention to the imprisoned artists in Cuba. Soon they discover that love isn’t about falling—it’s about soaring together to new heights. But wings can be fragile, and Soleida and Dariel come from different worlds. They are fighting for a better future—and the chance to be together.
Margarita Engle is the Cuban American author of many books including the verse novels Rima’s Rebellion; Your Heart, My Sky; With a Star in My Hand; The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and The Lightning Dreamer. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, which received the Pura Belpré Award, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among others. Her picture books include Drum Dream Girl, Dancing Hands, and The Flying Girl. Visit her at MargaritaEngle.com.
"Engle weaves a compelling love story balanced with an invitation to readers to consider the impact of climate change and the necessity for action now. She populates her poetry with vivid descriptions of many colorful bird species alongside lyrical references to musicians and poets giving us 'something magical and scientific / at the same time.' "
— The Horn Book Magazine
"Pura Belpré winner Engle touches on topical climate and social issues in her newest verse novel, told from two viewpoints during 2018 and 2019. . . Drawing on their talents for music and art, both teens beautifully and uniquely express themselves as their romance unfolds amid real-world catastrophes. Readers will admire the determination of both young activists as they rebel to make the world a safer place to inhabit. A must-buy. . ."
"Employing stunningly immersive verse and distinct alternating perspectives, Engle sets Soleida and Dariel’s developing relationship against a backdrop of advocacy to present a profoundly romantic read that prioritizes topical issues, such as environmental and refugee crises, and political oppression of artists."
— Publishers Weekly
, STARRED REVIEW
"This novel-in-verse exposes readers to the realities of Cuban refugees in South America and the persecution they faced in their home county. . . It is also a story of hope. Hope in a younger generation which is fighting for climate change and for reforestation. And, finally, it is a story of love. . . Highly Recommended."
— School Library Connection
*"Luscious verse and beautiful descriptions of the flora and fauna bring attention to the impacts of the climate crisis and the urgent need for change. Inspiring and hopeful; young love and the call to action resonate."
— Kirkus Reviews
, STARRED REVIEW