Wednesday, September 12, 2012

REFORMA Review: The Surrender Tree

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom
By Margarita Engle 
Henry Holt, 2008. 169 pages. $16.95 (Hardcover). ISBN 978-0-8050-8674-4. 
Grades 6-12 
English with some Spanish

Returning to the topic of Cuban slavery as in her award-winning The Poet Slave of Cuba, Engle’s highly accessible, fictionalized verse follows the life of Rosa la Bayamesa, an herbal healer and military nurse, during her efforts to help slaves and soldiers involved in Cuba’s wars and struggles for independence from 1850-1899.  Readers are introduced to not only Rosa but also her husband, a young slave girl, and the opposing forces trying to suppress Cuban slaves. The author’s and historical notes, chronology, and selected references are welcomed additions that ground the poems within their historical context.

Highly Recommended.

Naidoo, J. C. (2008). The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom. Written by Margarita Engle. REFORMA Newsletter, 26 (1/2), 27.

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