*Starred Review* Engle’s historical novel in verse is a fictionalized biography of the nineteenth-century Cuban abolitionist poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, known as Tula. Told in multiple voices, Engle’s elegant verses, rich in simile and metaphor, focus on the poet’s life as a teenager. Forbidden access to books because her mother believes reading and writing make women unattractive, Tula escapes to a nearby convent. There, she discovers volumes by the rebel poet José María de Heredia, whose words feed her own rebellious spirit, which is exemplified by her rejection of two arranged marriages. I long to write like Heredia, she muses, but what do I know of great cities and the wide lives of men? I’m just a silenced girl. My stories are simple tales of emotion. Seen as an outcast and a madwoman, she is sent to the country, where she falls in love with Sab, a freed slave, and continues to write about equality for slaves and for women. Engle’s richly evocative verses conjure up a time when women, like slaves, were regarded as property to be sold into loveless marriages. This is the context for a splendid novel that celebrates one brave woman who rejected a constrained existence with enduring words that continue to sing of freedom. Grades 7-12, --Michael Cart
A Pura Belpré Honor Book
Winner of the 2014 PEN Literary Award for Best Young Adult Book
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2013 list
2014 International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention
An NCTE Notable Book for the Language Arts
An ALSC Notable Children's Book for 2013
YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
* "This is the context for a splendid novel that celebrates one brave woman who rejected a constrained existence with enduring words that continue to sing of freedom."
—Booklist, starred review
"An inspiring fictionalized verse biography of one of Cuba's most influential writers. . . . Fiery and engaging, a powerful portrait of the liberating power of art."
"In these poems, their longings for freedom, their fears, their loves, and their heartaches are elegantly crafted through images that make the island of Cuba and its people vividly real and connect them to the hearts of contemporary readers."
"A quick and powerful read worthy of addition to any collection. The verses speak of tolerance and acceptance beyond the context of this story."
"Engle adds another superb title to her lengthening list of historical novels in verse. . . . This is a must-have for . . . anyone in need of a comparative study to our own country's struggle with slavery."
—School Library Journal
The novel begins in 1827. Tula’s mother, who twice made the mistake of marrying for love, is desperate to prevent her thirteen-year-old daughter from taking a similar path. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Latin@s in Kid Lit
Poetic dystopian? Well, not really but in this gorgeously written, wonderful little book the author describes a girl ahead of her time whose voice cannot be quieted despite many... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tania
The 2008 Newbery Honor winning author tells the story in free verse of the poet,abolitionist and feminist with information derived from 'SAB', the poet's 1841 abolitionist... Read morePublished 22 months ago by E. B. MULLIGAN
The Lightning Dreamer is an excellent biography of writer and feminist Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, known as Tula. Read morePublished 22 months ago by BBP
Despite the subject matter -- slavery, abuse, forced marriages, girls being forced into servitude and denied an education -- Margarita Engle gives us a beautiful picture not only... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ace
This book is remarkably engaging, and even more so for being a) poetry, and b) a biography. It's written in free verse, but is very easy to follow, with different pages being... Read morePublished 23 months ago by bored99
This book was a very creative way of writing about Gertrudis Gomez de Avelleneda, an Abolitionist in Cuba. Read morePublished 23 months ago by me4real
Inspirational story for children or adults.
I think this book would be a great one to read with a child or to use in class as part of a thematic project. Read more
Margaria Engle choses a wonderful way to explore the life of Cuban poet Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda but using poetry to tell her story in words that Tula, as Gertrudis was... Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by TammyJo Eckhart