OVERRIDE

The Poet Slave of Cuba

A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

Margarita Engle; illustrations by Sean Qualls

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet.

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.
 
Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.

The Poet Slave of Cuba is the winner of the 2008 Pura Belpre Medal for Narrative and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Latino Interest.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Juan

My mind is a brush made of feathers
painting pictures of words
I remember
all that I see
every syllable
each word a twin of itself
telling two stories
at the same time
one of sorrow
the other hope

I love the words
written with my feathery mind
in the air
and with my sharp fingernails
on leaves in the garden

When my owner catches
a whiff
of the fragrance
of words
engraved in the flesh
of succulent geranium leaves
or the perfumed petals of alelí flowers
then she frowns because she knows
that I dream
wi
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Poet Slave of Cuba

* "An absolutely lovely book . . . that should be read by young and old, black and white, Anglo and Latino."
--School Library Journal, starred review
 
* "Readers will hear the stories--and never forget them."
--Booklist, starred review
 
* "A work of literary imagination. Engle's skillful portrait will spark readers' interest in Manzano's own poetry."
--Horn Book, starred review
 
* "The moving poetry and finely crafted story will draw readers in and leave them in tears and in awe."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Margarita Engle; illustrations by Sean Qualls

  • Margarita Engle is a Cuban American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She is the author of young adult nonfiction books and novels in verse including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor Book, Hurricane Dancers, The Firefly Letters, and Tropical Secrets. She lives in northern California. Sean Qualls is the illustrator of The Baby on the Way and Powerful Words. He lives with his wife and their son in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Margarita Engle
  • Sean Qualls
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READING GUIDE

OTHER GUIDES

Teacher's Guide
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Poet Slave of Cuba

A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

Margarita Engle; illustrations by Sean Qualls

American Library Association Notable Children's Books, IRA Children's and Young Adults Book Award, CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI), NYPL Books for the Teen Age, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, IRA Teachers' Choices, NCTE Notable Child. Bks in Lang. A, Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Wi, American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, Pura Belpre Author Award, Arizona Grand Canyon Young Readers Master List
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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

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