Forest World by Margarita Engle

Forest World by Margarita Engle

Forest World by Margarita Engle (9781481490573, Amazon)

Released August 29, 2017.

Edver isn’t pleased to be headed to Cuba to meet his father for the first time since he was a baby. Now that the laws have changed, families can once again be reunited with people who escaped to the United States from Cuba. Edver has to leave behind the Internet and his favorite video game and cope with power outages and a lack of transportation and other technology. When he gets to Cuba, Edver discovers that he has an older sister that he’d never known about. Luza had stayed with her father in Cuba, wondering why her mother left her behind. Both of their parents work to protect endangered species. Their father protects one special forest in Cuba while their mother travels the world to find newly rediscovered species. As Luza and Edver start to become siblings, they find that a poacher has come to Cuba, drawn by an email they sent to try to get their mother to come. Now it is up to them to protect the forest they both love.

Engle is a master of the verse novel, writing of difficult subjects and using the poetic format to dig deeper than prose would allow. She tells the story in alternating poems in the voices of Edver and Luza as they discover the poverty of Cuba, the wealth of America, and the fact that there are different types of wealth in life like parental attention, grandparents and a sense of home.

Engle explores the world of Lazarus animals and protecting endangered species in this novel. The subject works in a lovely parallel to Cuban Americans being reunited with their families. There is a sense of delicacy and care, a feeling of finding the right habitat suddenly, and a sense of exploration and discovery heightened with surprises.

Another adept verse novel from a true master, this is a book that explores home, habitat and family. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC received from Atheneum.

2017 New Zealand Children and Young Adults Book Awards

The winners of the 2017 New Zealand Children and Young Adults Book Awards have been announced. Here are the various categories and the winning titles and authors:

MARGARET MAHY BOOK OF THE YEAR and RUSSELL CLARK AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATION

Snark: Being a True History of the Expedition That Discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock … and Its Tragic Aftermath

Snark: Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock . . . and its tragic aftermath by David Elliot

COPYRIGHT LICENSING NZ AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT FICTION

The Severed Land

The Severed Land by Maurice Gee

PICTURE BOOK AWARD

That's Not a Hippopotamus

That’s Not a Hippopotamus! by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Sarah Davis

ESTHER GLEN AWARD FOR JUNIOR FICTION

Bastion Point: 507 Days on Takaparawha (My NZ Story)

My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point by Tania Roxborogh

ELSIE LOCKE AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush

Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush by Jack Marcotte and Josh James Marcotte

TE KURA POUNAMU AWARD FOR BEST BOOK IN TE REO MAORI

Te Kaihanga Māpere

Te Kaihanga Mapere by Sacha Cotter, translated by Kawata Teepa, illustrated by Josh Morgan

BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD

The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain

The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain by Julie Lamb