The Wild Book
By Margarita Engle
Harcourt Children's Books, 2012. 133 pages. Fiction.
Young Fefa lives in Cuba in the early 20th century. After being diagnosed by a doctor with "word blindness," an antiquated term for reading disability, she feels like she will never be able to experience the written word. Her eventual success with reading is a hard-won triumph, and Engle's use of verse perfectly suits Fefa's journey. Though Fefa's personal life is the focus, there is some Cuban history woven in- including the threat of wild bandits and kidnapping in her rural neighborhood. The Wild Book is written in careful, beautifully composed poetry. Margarita Engle skillfully uses the metaphor of a blank, unreadable book being transformed into a lush garden of knowledge. This is another good selection from Engle, accompanied by a gorgeous cover illustrated by Yuyi Morales.