Engle, Margarita. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist. Houghton Mifflen Harcart, 2013.
In this story Tula loves words, writing, and everything about it. However, Tula is rowing up in Cuba where it is taboo for women to be knowledgeable. Tula desperately hopes for freedom. The thought of freedom from an arranged marriage and slavery to all drives all her thoughts. Tula will do whatever it takes.
I find the author's writing style to be very interesting. This particular book was written in poem style but in free verse. The shapes of the poems helped the reader understand Tula's feelings. For example, when the lines only contained one word, you could feel Tula's pain, longing, and hope.
The cover is the only area of illustration. It is just a picture of a hand and a crow on top of one finger with a sky blue background. The picture is whimsical looking. I feel the simpleness of the background represents the freedom Tula desperately wants.
I think the book was very good and an easy read. The story flowed nicely, and the characters all had a voice. I would recommend this book to students. It introduces to them to forms of slavery but in a way that is expressive and not just facts. I think this book would be good for fifth to seventh graders.
Grace Mulikill, BGSU Student