Friday, October 14, 2011

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom
Newbery Honor 2009
Pura Belpre Medal 2009

Engle, M. (2008). The surrender tree: Poems of Cuba's struggle for
     freedom.  New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company

This is an historical fiction book about Cuba and its three wars for independence.  It is the story of Rosa, Jose, and Silvia from each of their points of view.  Rosa lived and worked as a nurse, first known as a little witch.  She healed the sick with God's gift of medicines made from the wild plants.  She was also hunted for being a witch.  She and her husband, Jose, must live in hidden caves in order to help the injured and sick rebels.  Rosa helps all who are in need whether dark or light, friend or foe.  Silvia is a young girl who, with her family, is moved to a reconcentration camp.  There is not enough food or supplies for them to survive there.  Her twin brothers and mother die leaving Silvia by herself.  Silvia remembers the stories her grandmother told her of Rosa.  Not knowing if the stories are real, she decides her only chance of survival is to find Rosa.  She wants to learn to help others too.  She sneaks out in an oxcart with help from a Brother of Charity and Faith.  She does find Rosa who takes her under her wing and teaches her the ways of survival.  A wonderful book to read and learn about the times of the Cuban rebellion.

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