Read The Wild Book Online

Authors: Margarita Engle

Tags: #Juvenile Nonfiction, #Poetry, #General, #History, #Central & South America, #Health & Daily Living, #Diseases; Illnesses & Injuries, #Girls & Women, #Language Arts

The Wild Book

BOOK: The Wild Book
ads
Table of Contents

Title Page

Table of Contents

Copyright

Dedication

Epigraphs

The Cuban Countryisde 1912

Word-Blindness

School

Homework

Frog Fear

Homework Fear

Word Towers

Tiny Triumphs

Lonely Fear

Slow Down

Danger

The Danger Chain

Warnings

Worries

I Do Try!

A Dreaded gift

Imagining

Wishing

Questioning

Bird-pepole

Insults

Schoolbooks

Wildflowers

Celebrations

Word Hunger

Word Freedom

The ugly poem

Fragrant Chores

Gardens of Thought

Guessing

Strolling

Towers of Hope

Growing Up

Ugliness

Trouble

Uncertainly

Beastly

Scribbling

Patience

The Hope Bug

Before the Hunt

The Poetry Duel

Fly to the Truth of Dreams

Rum and Bullets

Waiting

Discovering My Voice

Ready to Heal

Strange Cures

Reading Out Loud

Fear-Chained

Wondering

Just One

More Practice

More and More Poetry

The Secret Language of Children

Never Give Up

Hideous

Danger Grows

Sleepless

A Laughter Gift

Daily Music

Dance-Smart

Still Struggling

Stroytelling

One Strand at a Time

The Beach in August

The Beach at Noon

The Beach at Night

Storm

Home

Awake All Night

Reading Wildly

Ghostly

Doomed

Thorns

Flying

Justice

Blank

Surprises

Inside the Tower of Fear

Magic

Courage

Author's Note

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Copyright © 2012 by Margarita Engle

All rights reserved. For information about permission to
reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions,
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company,
215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

Harcourt is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
www.hmhbooks.com
Text set in 12-point Lomba
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Engle, Margarita.
The wild book / Margarita Engle.
p. cm.
Summary: In early twentieth-century Cuba, bandits terrorize the
countryside as a young farm girl struggles with dyslexia. Based on the life
of the author's grandmother.
ISBN 978-0-547-58131-6
[1. Novels in verse. 2. Dyslexia Fiction. 3. Cuba History 1909 1933
Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.5.E54Wi 2012
[Fic] dc23
2011027320
Manufactured in the United States of America
DOC 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
4500343962

For young readers
who dread reading

 

and for those
who love blank books

Mis ojos miraban en hora de ensueños la página blanca.

Y vino el desfile de ensueños y sombras.

 

In the hour of daydreams my eyes watched the blank page.

And there came a parade of dreams and shadows.

 

—Rubén Darío,
from "La Página Blanca" ("The Blank Page")

The Cuban Countryisde 1912
Word-Blindness

Word-blindness
The doctor hisses it
like a curse.
Word-blindness,
he repeats—some children
can see everything
except words.
They are only blind
on paper.
Fefa will never be able
to read, or write,
or be happy
in school.

 

Word-blindness.
It sounds like an evil wizard's
prophecy, dangerous
and dreadful,
but Mamá does not listen
to the serpent voice
of the hissing doctor.
She climbs in the wagon,
clucks to the horse,
and carries us home
to our beautiful green farm,
where she tells me to follow
the good example of Santa Mónica,
patron saint of patience.

 

Word-blindness,
Mamá murmurs
with a suffering sigh—who
ever heard of such an impossible
burden?

 

She refuses to accept
the hissing doctor's verdict.
Seeds of learning grow slowly,
she assures me.
Then she lights a tall,
slender candle,
and gives me
a book.

 

I grow anxious.
I pretend that my eyes hurt.
I pretend that my head hurts,
and pretty soon
it is true.

 

I know that the words
want to trick me.
The letters will jumble
and spill off the page,
leaping and hopping,
jumping far away,
like slimy
bullfrogs.

 

Think of this little book
as a garden,
Mamá suggests.
She says it so calmly
that I promise I will try.

 

Throw wildflower seeds
all over each page, she advises.
Let the words sprout
like seedlings,
then relax and watch
as your wild diary
grows.

 

I open the book.
Word-blindness.
The pages are white!
Is this really a blank diary,
or just an ordinary
schoolbook
filled with frog-slippery
tricky letters
that know how to leap
and escape?

School

The others laugh.
They always laugh.
When I am forced to read
OUT LOUD,
they mock
my stumbling voice,
and when I have to practice
my horrible
handwriting,
they make fun
of the twisted
tilted
ormented
letters.

 

My fingers fall away
from the page.
I lose the courage
to try.

Homework

I struggle to write
in my blank book,
my wild diary,
just a little bit
each evening
by candlelight.

 

It is almost impossible
to practice patiently!

 

I hate hate hate
this deep dread
of slippery
vanishing words
that make me feel
so lonely.

Frog Fear

My little brothers love
to frighten me
by hiding lizards,
bugs, and spiders
in my bloomers.

 

Today it's a frog,
but they tell me it's a snake,
so I scream and tremble
until I can clearly see
that the little creature
jumps around
like jittery letters
on a blinding
9 page.

 

The skin of a frog
feels just as slippery
and tricky as a wild
inky word.

Homework Fear

The teacher at school
smiles, but she's too busy
to give me extra help,
so later, at home,
Mamá tries to teach me.

 

She reminds me
to go oh-so-slowly
and take my time.
There is no hurry.
The heavy book
will not rise up
and fly away.

 

When I scramble the sneaky letters
b
and
d,
or the even trickier ones
r
and
l,
Mamá helps me learn
how to picture
the sep—a—rate
parts
of each mys—te—ri—ous
syl—la—ble.
Still, it's not easy
to go so
ss—ll—oo—ww—ll—yy.
Slowly.
SLOWLY!

 

I have to keep
warning myself
over and over
that whenever I try
to read too quickly,
my clumsy patience
flips over
and tumbles,
then falls...

 

Why?
Wwhhyyyy?
WHY?
¡Ay!

Word Towers

Listen listen listen.
I have to learn how to listen!
Please, God, help me hear
all the mysterious sounds
of each wild word.

 

I watch Mamá as she cradles
a book of poems,
holding it like a baby,
with love, instead of fear.
How can reading look
so easy, and feel
so impossible?

 

The long poems
look like towers so tall
that I could never
hope
to climb
all the wispy
letters.

 

Words seem to float
and drift, changing
their strange shapes,
like storm clouds,
always ready
to explode.

Tiny Triumphs

I try to slow down
and really see
the little parts
that I can hear,
all those
scattered
bits
of ti—ny
words.

 

Will my mind
ever be ti—dy?

 

Will my wild book
ever seem
tame?

Lonely Fear

My big sisters go out riding
fast horses in adventurous places,
even though we should all
be at home, doing our chores.
They don't let me go with them.
They say they plan
to explore an eerie tower
on an old sugar plantation
where ghostly legends
moan and lurk.

 

Fefa, they tease,
you cannot see—
how can you climb
the steep steps?
You would fall!

 

Left behind,
I feel so abandoned,
so ashamed.

Slow Down

I open my blank book
and begin to create
my own fairy-tale world
of dreamlike
words.

 

I can see the tall
columns of letters
just as long
as I only stare
at one little
part
of
each
word
at
a
time.

Danger

Life changes overnight.
Word-blindness
suddenly feels
like the least
of my troubles.

 

Papá gathers us
all around him
and delivers
a terrible warning.

 

No more wandering.
No exploring.
Our whole family
is in danger!
Why?
¡Ay!
Why?

The Danger Chain

Papá explains that when he
and Mamá were young,
armies roamed, and farms
were destroyed by the flames
of war, and innocent families
were herded like cattle,
into camps called leco...

 

My mind fumbles.
I fail to picture
the frightful word...

 

A camp of leconcent...

 

I stop, take a breath,
and think again slowly,
this time in syllables,
starting with
r,
not
l
...
Re—con—cen—tra—ción.

 

A reconcentration camp.
The tongue-twisting word
finally makes sense.
It was a horrible place
where my poor parents
were fenced in and trapped
during the war years.

 

Now, Pap¡ explains,
rebellions and chaos
have returned.
Danger roams again,
but this time
the wild men
are not soldiers,
just greedy bandits
who kidnap children
and demand
ransom money.

 

The wild bandits
were children
during the war years.
They suffered the cruelty
of soldiers.
They learned
how to be cruel.

 

Danger is a chain,
Papa tells us sadly,
a chain passed from one
wounded child to the next.

 

We must stop the danger
by breaking the chain.
We must learn how
to stay safe
and be kind.

Warnings

Be careful, our parents warn us.
Stay away from strangers,
and watch out for kidnappers,
especially the famous ones
like Alvarez and Tolis.
They have already stolen
many children.

 

All these warnings make me cringe
with dread, but the worst one
is the last one, a dire warning
about ransom...

 

If someone hands me a note,
will I see clearly enough
to read the tricky difference
between friendly words
and a deadly
threat?

ADS
15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
READ BOOK DOWNLOAD BOOK

Other books

Double or Nothing by N.J. Walters
My Hollywood by Mona Simpson
Bender by Stacy Borel
Kill Process by William Hertling
Tableland by D. E. Harker
Crybaby Ranch by Tina Welling
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors