The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

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Macmillan, Apr 4, 2006 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 183 pages
18 Reviews

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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookConcierge - LibraryThing

Subtitle: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano. Manzano was born into the household of a wealthy slaveowner in Cuba in 1797. The young Juan showed a talent for poetry, and he was used by his owner as ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcarroll12 - LibraryThing

A beautiful portrayal of Juan Francisco Manzano's biography. This was admittedly the first time I heard his story, and Engle's poetic verse replicates the contradictory life of beauty and pain that ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

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.