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Margarita Engle - Click to see all titles by this author.

Pura Belpré Award-winning Cuban-American author Margarita Engle was born in Los Angeles. She earned a B.S. from California State Polytechnic University and an M.S. from Iowa State University, and undertook a doctoral degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside. Before becoming a writer, she was a tenured agronomy professor at California Polytechnic University. Margarita has authored many books, receiving multiple awards and honors.

Margarita wrote lyrical nature poems as a child and was always at the library taking home huge stacks of books every week; many were poetry books. During college, she attended a seminar in creative writing with Tomás Rivera, igniting her passion to write.

As a young girl, Margarita spent summers in her mother’s hometown of Trinidad de Cuba on the south-central coast, and on her great-uncle’s farm, her grandmother’s birthplace. There, she developed of love of farms, wilderness, and nature, leading her to study botany and agronomy. She draws on these summer explorations in Cuba with her family, as well as well-researched first-person accounts, to write novels in verse, memoirs, and picture books. One of her writing processes includes turning off noisy gadgets and electronic interruptions to volunteer as a “lost” person in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, waiting for her husband’s rescue dogs to find her.

“I love to write about young people who made hopeful choices in situations that seemed hopeless. My own hope is that tales of courage and compassion will ring true for youthful readers as they make their own difficult decisions in modern times.”

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