Reviews for The surrender tree : poems of Cuba's struggle for freedom

by Margarita Engle, translation by Alexis Romay

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Between 1868 and 1898, Cuba fought three wars to gain independence. Engle uses these historical events to craft a powerful free-verse narrative told through soliloquies of various revolutionary characters, including folk heroine Rosa la Bayamesa, a former slave and healer. Engle's haunting poetry explores themes of oppression, war, and human rights through the lens of one woman's determination. Timeline. Bib. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Tales of political dissent can prove, at times, to be challenging reads for youngsters, but this fictionalized version of the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain may act as an entry to the form. The poems offer rich character portraits through concise, heightened language, and their order within the cycle provides suspense. Four characters tell the bulk of the story: Rosa, a child who grows up to be a nurse who heals the wounded, sick and starving with herbal medicine; her husband, Jos, who helps her move makeshift hospitals from cave to cave; Silvia, an orphaned girl who escapes a slave camp so that she may learn from Rosa; and Lieutenant Death, a hardened boy who grows up wanting only to kill Rosa and all others like her. Stretching from 1850 to 1899, these poems convey the fierce desire of the Cuban people to be free. Young readers will come away inspired by these portraits of courageous ordinary people. (author's note, historical note, chronology, references) (Fiction/poetry. 12+) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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