The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

illus. by Sean Qualls. Holt. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780312659288.
Gr 7 Up—This 2008 Pura Belpré Medal-winning biography presents the true story of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet. Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano was denied an education but showed an exceptional talent for poetry. Qualls's breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope. This title serves as a reminder that much of the history of the Caribbean was written on the backs of Black people.

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