Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle

Reviewed by Miss Dewey at Orenda

Four paw prints. Once there was a land that was very beautiful. It was an island with warm weather, mountains, and lush land for farming. There was just one problem. The people who ruled the island, the Spaniards, believed in slavery. This is the story of one of those slaves. Through poems, Rosa explains how she learned about medicinal plants as a child slave. As she grows older we learn of the many civil wars that take over her island that cause a number of slaves to run away from their masters, including Rosa. Rosa and her husband start healing clinics throughout the island helping anyone in need, whether the injured is a friend or foe. After many years and many civil wars Rosa and her Cuban friends win their freedom, but it isn’t necessarily what they expected at the Surrender Tree. This is the true story of Rosa la Bayamesa who grew up and experienced many of Cuba’s civil wars and eventually saw freedom for all the people who lived there. What’s nice about this book is the way the story is told. Instead of reading a factual book that would probably be very hard to understand, the information is told through short, easy-to-understand poems. This then becomes a good book for American children to introduce a culture many of them know very little about. To learn more about Margarita Engle visit
811 Eng

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