Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy, illustrations by Beatriz Vidal, Spanish translation of story by Adriana Domínguez. Children’s Book Press, 2017. 9780892393756
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? This is an inspiring picture book biography of José Martí, Cuba’s poet revolutionary. Lilting poetic prose, with parallel Spanish translation, tells the story of Martí’s life in Cuba and the U.S., and how he grew to believe that Cubans should be free from slavery and from Spanish rule. Excerpts from his “Versos sencillos” follow at the bottom of each page of text. Luminous gouache paintings in a naive style show Martí in Cuba, New York and in the Catskill Mountains, and capture his love of freedom, poetry, and nature. Faces of the Spanish, African and Chinese citizens of Cuba are rendered with affection. Extensive back matter includes biographical information, excerpts from “Versos sencillos”, and a bibliography.
To whom would you recommend this book? This would be an excellent addition to curricula on Latin America, and specifically study of Cuba.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Biography
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Children’s Book PresLibrary, Arlington, MA
Date of review: August 3, 2017