Review of Wings in the Wild

Wings in the Wild Wings in the Wild
by Margarita Engle
High School    Atheneum    224 pp.
4/23    9781665926362    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781665926386    $10.99

Can a “tocororo-girl” and a “song-boy” find love in the mountains of Costa Rica? In this novel set in 2018, two teens from vastly different worlds tell their stories in free verse poems, alternating points of view. Soleida, a talented painter, must leave Cuba after a catastrophic hurricane destroys her home and her parents are imprisoned when the “art police” discover their unsanctioned sculptures. Her journey is harrowing and mirrors the plight of many present-day “climate migrants.” In California, Dariel, a gifted guitarist, flees the mansion he shares with his telenovela-star parents when wildfires destroy it. He accompanies his Cuban American abuelo to Costa Rica. The teens meet and begin to share their gifts of music and art. Dariel slowly uncovers Soleida’s horrific story, and she begins to heal and feel empowered to search for her parents and help a cousin with a local reforestation project. Engle (Your Heart, My Sky, rev. 3/21) 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.” An author’s note details the story’s real-life inspirations.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sylvia Vardell

Sylvia Vardell is a professor in the School of Library & Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and author of Children’s Literature in Action, Poetry Aloud Here, A World Full of Poems and the Poetry for Children blog.

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