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The surrender tree : poems of Cuba's struggle for freedom
Margarita Engle
Teen Nonfiction PS3555.N4254 S87 2008

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Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
For many of us in the United States, Cuban history begins and ends in the late 20th century with the Cuban Missile Crisis and Fidel Castro. But the real revolution took place when Cuba fought for freedom from the colonizing power of Spain. In 1868, a few Cuban plantation owners freed their slaves and declared independence. For the next three decades, the island was wracked by near-constant warfare. From the turmoil emerges Rosa, a slave-turned-healer who spends the tumultuous years of the war hiding in the jungle and healing anyone and everyone—runway slaves, Cuban rebels, Spanish soldiers (many who change sides after Rosa helps them) and even the legendary Lieutenant Death, the son of a slave hunter and Rosa’s most feared foe. Rosa and her husband José camp out in make-shift hospitals in huts and caves, constantly on the move but always connected to the land by the plants, flowers, and herbs that Rosa uses as medicine. Rosa, José, Lieutenant Death, and others like Spain’s General Weyler, who in 1896 called for all Cuban peasants to be herded into “reconcentration camps,” and Silvia, a young girl who escapes from one of Weyler’s death camps, take turns telling the story from their own point of view. The subtitle of this book is Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, but don’t let that fool you if you’re not a poetry reader. Told in free verse (a style that doesn’t rhyme and focuses instead on a realistic rhythm), every poem is a glimmer of light into this little-known struggle for freedom. The novel becomes an interwoven, haunting tale of brutal tragedy, quiet triumph, and above all, the story of Cuba. Author Margarita Engle writes about real historical figures, though she takes a few liberties to weave a more completely unified story. In the end, she tells a powerful story in an elegant style to create a work that won her a Newbery Honor (the first Latino author to do so), a Pura Belpré Award (for Latino authors and illustrators), and a Jane Addams Award (for children’s books that promote peace, equality, and social justice). The Surrender Tree is a book that should be ignored by no audience.
posted Dec 24, 2009 at 1:26PM
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main characters Rosa
Female
Cuban
Nurse; tries to help anyone that is sick.

Jose
Male
Cuban
Rose's husband; helps wife build temporary hospitals.

Silvia
Female
Orphan
Escaped from slavery to learn from Rosa.

Lieutenant Death
Male
Cuban
Wants to rid the world of people like Rosa.



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