It’s Monday and here’s what I’m reading #IMWAYR:Enchanted Air & An A From Miss Keller


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.



Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, Margarita Engle’s memoir in verse, is a lyrical remembrance of her first fourteen years.  Born to an American father and a Cuban mother, Margarita grows up shuttling between the lush landscape and familial warmth of her summers in Cuba, and her more ordinary and “regular” life in California and Oregon.  But, whether she is in school or at play here in the U.S., Margarita’s heart and her imagination remain forever tied to Cuba, where there is a lush magic in everything, even something as every day as milking a cow:


But her idyllic summers come to an end with the increasing tensions between the two countries, first with the Bay of Pigs invasion and culminating with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the severing of ties between both countries. Margarita is confused, sorrowful, and afraid, and her beautiful verses tell the story of her divided heart: home and identity can belong to two places all at once:

It really is possible to feel

like two people

at the same time,

when your parents




come from two




Enchanted Air will be a selection for our upcoming historical fiction book clubs, and I know that my sixth graders will love learning about Engle’s personal story as set within the context of historical events; I believe that this will be a wonderful opportunity for my students to learn how the events in their history books affect individuals and families in a deeply personal, often tragic way.


keller 1

As an writing teacher who has a reputation for being “hard” among the middle school population in my school , I was almost afraid to read Patricia Polacco’s An A From Miss Keller.  But, who can resist Patricia Polacco, and so I read on…and loved this story.  Miss Keller is rather frightening to Tricia, at first, and who but Polacco can convey this in her art alone?:

keller 2

But, Tricia learns to give her words wings under “Killer Keller”…and those of us who remain devoted to Polacco’s words, learn a little about who and how she was inspired to write as she does.







11 thoughts on “It’s Monday and here’s what I’m reading #IMWAYR:Enchanted Air & An A From Miss Keller

  1. Fantastic reviews. I love how you shared a piece of the book and the quotes. Those fingernails! Yikes. I’m going to order those books.

  2. I love all of Margarita’s books, and this one that shares some of her “enchantment” is lovely. And thanks for sharing An “A” From Miss Keller. New to me, & it looks great. I bet your students will look back & be grateful that you’re the “hardest” teacher! I had a “killer Keller” in high school for 3 different classes, & value what she taught me still. Thanks, Tara.

  3. I love Enchanted Air – would love to hear what your students think about it. Just finished Hattie Big Sky – thinking of historical fiction.
    I have not seen this one from P. Polacco. Looks great – I will have to check it out and add it to my collection of her work. Thanks for sharing!

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