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Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger



by
Margarita Engle

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Simon & Schuster
Imprint
Atheneum
ISBN
9781534464964
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes
$20.16   $16.80
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JLG Category

Advanced Readers

Acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells a painful, poignant story of love in a time of hunger inspired by her own family’s struggles during a dark period in Cuba’s history.

The people of Cuba are living in el período especial en tiempos de paz—the special period in times of peace. That’s what the government insists that this era must be called, but the reality behind these words is starvation.

Liana is struggling to find enough to eat. Yet hunger has also made her brave: she finds the courage to skip a summer of so-called volunteer farm labor, even though she risks government retribution. Nearby, a quiet, handsome boy named Amado also refuses to comply, so he wanders alone, trying to discover rare sources of food.

A chance encounter with an enigmatic dog brings Liana and Amado together. United in hope and hunger, they soon discover that their feelings for each other run deep. Love can feed their souls and hearts—but is it enough to withstand el período especial en tiempos de paz?Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

244

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

May 2021

Book Genres

Novels in Verse, Historical Fiction

Topics

Starvation. Dogs. Love. Family life. Twentieth-century Cuban history. Point of view. 

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Horn Book

Engle (Enchanted Air, rev. 7/15; Soaring Earth, rev. 3/19) once again revisits her Cuban heritage and demonstrates an abiding appreciation of nature in this historical verse novel set during the “Período especial,” the (euphemistically named) “special period in times of peace.” In 1991, Cuba is hosting the Pan American Games and putting on a prosperous face for the rest of the world, but the Cuban people are starving, due to U.S. trade embargoes and the abrupt halt in aid and food imports from Communist allies after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Two teenagers, who have resisted joining the “voluntary” summer labor programs, are brought together by a scruffy stray dog as they scavenge for seaweed, shorebird eggs, and any fruit, fish, or fowl they can find, hunt, or steal to ease their relentless hunger. At its heart, this is a tender love story, lyrically presented in alternating poetic voices (including broader observations in third-person poems from the dog’s perspective), but it is also a coming-of-age narrative for the impressionable protagonists, exploring devotion and duty to country and family, the consequences of living with hunger and fear, and the costs of individual freedom and ambition. A deeply felt and engrossing look at a time when the grandparents lived “on a menu of memories” while the new generation survived “on nothing / but wishes.” LUANN TOTH

Praise & Reviews

Horn Book

Engle (Enchanted Air, rev. 7/15; Soaring Earth, rev. 3/19) once again revisits her Cuban heritage and demonstrates an abiding appreciation of nature in this historical verse novel set during the “Período especial,” the (euphemistically named) “special period in times of peace.” In 1991, Cuba is hosting the Pan American Games and putting on a prosperous face for the rest of the world, but the Cuban people are starving, due to U.S. trade embargoes and the abrupt halt in aid and food imports from Communist allies after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Two teenagers, who have resisted joining the “voluntary” summer labor programs, are brought together by a scruffy stray dog as they scavenge for seaweed, shorebird eggs, and any fruit, fish, or fowl they can find, hunt, or steal to ease their relentless hunger. At its heart, this is a tender love story, lyrically presented in alternating poetic voices (including broader observations in third-person poems from the dog’s perspective), but it is also a coming-of-age narrative for the impressionable protagonists, exploring devotion and duty to country and family, the consequences of living with hunger and fear, and the costs of individual freedom and ambition. A deeply felt and engrossing look at a time when the grandparents lived “on a menu of memories” while the new generation survived “on nothing / but wishes.” LUANN TOTH

Grades 6-9
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Interests
Clean Books,Diversity,Fiction,High Interest/Reluctant Reader,Struggling Readers,Novels,Funny/Humorous,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 6-9
Advanced Readers
12 books per Year
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