Synopses & Reviews
A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness
Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her worldand everything she thought she knew about her familyis shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets thatunbeknownst to Mirahave come to define and keep intact her familys existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her fathers sexual orientation isnt all he's kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family's fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dadwhile there is still time.
Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.
Advance praise for SKYSCRAPING:
Skyscraping is brilliant, sharp and bright. A stellar story. Jensen has written a powerful tale about love and loss, a story that will stick with readers long after theyve reached the end. Her poetry is vivid, tangible, and visceral. Shes a rising star with a breathtaking debut. This is a novel made of star stuff.”Skila Brown, author of Caminar
In gorgeous poetic verse, Jensen captures the raw emotions and hard truths of a family dealing with forgiveness and love.... Your heart will soar and break and heal anew.” An Na, author of Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist A Step from Heaven
"A masterful command of language and space. . . Engle blends the voices of her fictional characters, historical figures, and even the forest into a dynamic coming-of-age story not only of young adults but also of a blustering and arrogant United States."
—VOYA, 5Q 5P M J S
"Engle's extraordinary book is a tour de force of verisimilitude and beautifully realized verse that brings to empathetic life the silver people."
—Booklist, starred review
"As always, Engle's poetry captures with sympathetic wonder and delicate beauty the plight of these disenfranchised voices; here in particular she highlights the natural beauty and love that Mateo, Anita, and Henry find and cling to in the midst of their back- and heart-breaking labor."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"In melodic verses, Engle offers the voices of three [Panama Canal] workers…Taken together, they provide an illuminating picture of the ecological sacrifices and human costs behind a historical feat generally depicted as a triumph."
—Horn Book Magazine
"This richly developed novel is an excellent addition to any collection. In this compelling story, Engle paints a picture of an often [over]-looked area and highlights the struggles of the people and the arrogance of the Americans."
—School Library Journal
A Pura Belpré Honor Book
Winner of the 2014 PEN Literary Award for Best Young Adult Book
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2013 list
2014 International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention
An NCTE Notable Book for the Language Arts
An ALSC Notable Children's Book for 2013
YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
* "This is the context for a splendid novel that celebrates one brave woman who rejected a constrained existence with enduring words that continue to sing of freedom."
—Booklist, starred review
"An inspiring fictionalized verse biography of one of Cuba's most influential writers. . . . Fiery and engaging, a powerful portrait of the liberating power of art."
"In these poems, their longings for freedom, their fears, their loves, and their heartaches are elegantly crafted through images that make the island of Cuba and its people vividly real and connect them to the hearts of contemporary readers."
"A quick and powerful read worthy of addition to any collection. The verses speak of tolerance and acceptance beyond the context of this story."
"Engle adds another superb title to her lengthening list of historical novels in verse. . . . This is a must-have for . . . anyone in need of a comparative study to our own country's struggle with slavery."
—School Library Journal
Priase for SKYSCRAPING:
“Skyscraping is brilliant, sharp and bright. A stellar story. Jensen has written a powerful tale about love and loss, a story that will stick with readers long after theyve reached the end. Her poetry is vivid, tangible, and visceral. Shes a rising star with a breathtaking debut. This is a novel made of star stuff.”—Skila Brown, author of Caminar
Advanced praise for SKYSCRAPING:
“Skyscraping is brilliant, sharp and bright. A stellar story. Jensen has written a powerful tale about love and loss, a story that will stick with readers long after theyve reached the end. Her poetry is vivid, tangible, and visceral. Shes a rising star with a breathtaking debut. This is a novel made of star stuff.”
—Skila Brown, author of Caminar
“In gorgeous poetic verse, Jensen captures the raw emotions and hard truths of a family dealing with forgiveness and love.... Your heart will soar and break and heal anew.” -An Na, author of Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist A Step from Heaven
Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican-American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother's battle with cancer.
As the Panama Canal turns one hundred, Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle tells the story of its creation in this powerful new YA historical novel in verse.
One hundred years ago, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the worlds two largest oceans and signaled Americas emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.
From the young "silver people" whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it.
Newbery Honor-winner Margarita Engle tells the story of Cuban folk hero, abolitionist, and women's rights pioneer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda in this powerful YA historical novel in verse.
“I find it so easy to forget / that I’m just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts.”
Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.
About the Author
Cordelia Jensen was Poet Laureate of Perry County, PA in 2006 and 2007. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches creative writing in Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband and children. Follow her on Twitter @cordeliajensen.