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

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Annotation: Acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells a painful, poignant story of love in a time of hunger inspired by her own family’... more
Catalog Number: #255275
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
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Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Atheneum
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 224
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-534-46496-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8924-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-534-46496-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8924-0
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
ALA Booklist
"Can love be enough in a time of hunger?" This is the tension Engle explores in her most recent novel in verse. Euphemistically called the Special Period in Time of Peace by the Castro administration, the 1990s were a time of extreme poverty and hunger caused by the abandonment of the fallen Soviet power, along with the U.S. trade embargo. A pair of teens, Liana and Amado, are drawn together by a stray dog they name Paz, who plays Cupid in their bleak, hunger-stricken lives. The poems alternate between the perspectives of these three characters, providing readers with an intimate view of the desperation people suffered at that time. Just as hunger preoccupies the mind of a starving person, it makes its presence known on every page. Liana and Amado fall in love, but even youthful passion is tempered by the fear of starvation. Readers will be motivated to do their own research about the Special Period, the balseros, and the innovative agricultural and artistic developments that came about because of and despite governmental restrictions.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A young Cuban couple finds love while surviving desperate times of lack and longing.It’s the summer of 1991, and people are experiencing hunger and malnutrition in Cuba. Fourteen-year-old Liana and 15-year-old Amado live in a town well away from the bustle of Havana, where the Pan American Games are taking place, and away from observation by foreign visitors. When the story opens, neither knows of the other despite enduring the same risky fate of opting out of the supposedly voluntary (although opting out brings consequences) teen farm labor program. Instead, they are roaming the streets searching for any form of sustenance to make up for insufficient government rations. Liana happens upon a stray dog and takes him home. Her canine companion eventually becomes a matchmaker, connecting the young couple. Their relationship feeds their drive to survive and gives them reason to dream of different, better days. Engle uses free verse poignantly to express the devastation of constant hunger and the ever present fear of punishment while trying to survive life under a harsh regime. The theme of hunger is central to this story—literal hunger due to starvation as well as hunger for connection and hope. Engle’s words masterfully convey an evergreen human truth: that, in the end, we want to be able to live and love to our hearts’ content.A deeply touching read that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page. (author's note) (Verse novel. 12-18)
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ALA Booklist (1/1/21)
Word Count: 15,293
Reading Level: 7.3
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.3 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 510245 / grade: Middle Grades+

Acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells a painful, poignant story of love in a time of hunger inspired by her own family’s struggles during a dark period in Cuba’s history.

The people of Cuba are living in el período especial en tiempos de paz—the special period in times of peace. That’s what the government insists that this era must be called, but the reality behind these words is starvation.

Liana is struggling to find enough to eat. Yet hunger has also made her brave: she finds the courage to skip a summer of so-called volunteer farm labor, even though she risks government retribution. Nearby, a quiet, handsome boy named Amado also refuses to comply, so he wanders alone, trying to discover rare sources of food.

A chance encounter with an enigmatic dog brings Liana and Amado together. United in hope and hunger, they soon discover that their feelings for each other run deep. Love can feed their souls and hearts—but is it enough to withstand el período especial?

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