(photo: Marshall W. Johnson)
Margarita Engle has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, succeeding Jacqueline Woodson. Awarded every two years, the $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The laureate advises the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people's literature and "may engage in a variety of projects to help instill a lifelong love of poetry among the nation's developing readers."
"Margarita Engle's passion, knowledge of nature, and curiosity about the world make her work fascinating to children and adults alike," said foundation president Henry Bienen. "We are delighted that Ms. Engle has accepted the position of Young People's Poet Laureate and will now be a greater part of the Poetry Foundation community."
A poet, novelist and journalist, Engle has written numerous children's books, including Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music; The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist; Mountain Dog; When You Wander; and Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian. She is also the author of novels Singing to Cuba and Skywriting: A Novel of Cuba, as well as several YA novels in verse like Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal; The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist; The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom (Newbery Honor book); Tropical Secret (winner of a Sydney Taylor Award for Teen Readers and a Paterson Prize); and Hurricane Dancers. She won the Pura Belpré Author Award for her memoir Enchanted Air.