Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics is by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López, who collaborated on the award-winning Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music. Here, Engle has written 18 poems about accomplished Latino Americans or Hispanics who lived in "geographic regions now included in the modern United States," and each poem's accompanied by a gorgeous portrait by López. Some of the subjects are famous, such as musician Tito Puente, labor activist César Chávez, and baseball player Roberto Clemente, and some are unsung. But all are inspiring and "have faced life’s challenges in creative ways." An additional Notes About the Lives sets the poems in context. This book's a welcome addition to the canon of kids' literature about Hispanics.
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What's the Story?
BRAVO!: POEMS ABOUT AMAZING HISPANICS consists of 18 poems about American Latinos or Hispanics who lived in areas that are now part of the United States (like Puerto Rico, Texas, and California). Some names are quite familiar, for instance José Martí, Tito Puente, César Chávez, and Roberto Clemente. Others will be revelations. The subjects of the poems include figures from sports, politics, civil rights, music, medicine, botany, zoology, ornithology, library science, and academics. Each of the poems is a first-person account or monologue by the subject, talking briefly about his or her experience and accomplishment.
Is It Any Good?
The intimate biographical poems in this book are narrated in the first person and feel almost like short monologues, as if we've dropped in to eavesdrop on people talking frankly about their lives. Many of the people featured in Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics demonstrate progressive values. José Martí fought for Cuba's independence from Spain. Félix Varela became a priest in New York City ministering to the Irish who'd fled famine. César Chávez organized farmworkers. And Pura Belpré became the first Spanish Children's Specialist in the New York City Public Library. But author Margarita Engle satisfies widely by showcasing a variety of disciplines, and includes a painter, a jazz musician, a baseball player, a poet, and a medical researcher. She also strikes a nice balance of men and women.
The portraits by Rafael López are stunning and evocative, each incorporating images of the subject's interests and accomplishments. For instance, birds fly around Louis Agassiz Fuertes, who painted birds, and clouds drift past Aída De Acosta, the first woman pilot. The additional notes at the end help satisfy our curiosity, but if the book has a fault, it's that it leaves us wanting to dig in more.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the people profiled in Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics. Did you know about any of them before? Which ones interest you the most?
Did you realize that some Spanish-speaking regions are now officially part of the United States? Which ones?
In the pictures, how did the illustrator incorporate elements of the person's interests or accomplishments into the art? If someone painted a portrait like that of you, what would you want included?
- Author: Margarita Engle
- Illustrator: Rafael Lopez
- Genre: Poetry
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
- Publication date: March 14, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 48
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our Editors Recommend
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music
Gorgeous, magical story of a girl with music in her heart.
Exuberant portrayal of artist's passion for art.
Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes
Picture book offers inspiring bios of Latino Americans.
For kids who love Latino stories
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