The Poet Slave of Cuba
A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano
Author: Margarita Engle; Illustrated by Sean Qualls
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.
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
In The News
“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