for The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle and Sean Qualls
Engle presents a powerful biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, exposing the physical and psychological horrors of slavery. Manzano, a child prodigy, earns manumission for his parents, but his own is to be delayed until the death of his first owner. After his owner’s death, Manzano remains enslaved by a new owner, La Marquesa de Prado Ameno, who disregards his manumis sion. She engages him in a horrific battle for control of his actions, thoughts, and dispositions. Her punishments are maniacal; his endurance approaches superhuman. Engle merges poems from multiple perspectives, including Manzano’s, his parents, and owners to form a compelling narrative. 2008 Pura Belpré Author Award, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children’s Books; Winner of the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, IRA Children’s Book Award, IRA Teachers’ Choices, NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, NYPL Books for the Teen Age, CCBC Choice. jfc
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.