Marti’s Song for Freedom/Marti y Sus Versos por la Libertad by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

Published by Children’s Book Press

Summary:  Growing up in Cuba, Jose Marti was outraged that some of his fellow countrymen were slaves.  As he grew older, he learned that the key to ending slavery was Cuba’s independence from Spain.  In 1868, the Cuban people started a war for independence.  Marti’s newspaper articles and pamphlets about it landed him in jail.  At age 17, he was released by the Spanish government on the condition that he leave Cuba forever.  He traveled around the world, advocating for Cuban independence, and finally settled in New York.  He loved the city, but sometimes found it oppressive.  He would retreat to the Catskills, where he wrote poetry and stories for children that are still read today. In 1895, Jose went back to Cuba, where he died a few weeks later in a battle for independence.  Seven  years later, in 1902, Cuba finally gained independence from Spain.  32 pages; grades 2-6.

Pros:  Told in both English and Spanish, this is an inspiring biography of a man who never stopped fighting against the injustices he saw.  The illustrations may make it a Caldecott contender.

Cons:  Why is New York consistently referred to as Nuevo York in the English version of the story?

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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