Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hurricane Dancers (YA)

Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Margarita Engle. 2011. Henry Holt. 160 pages.

Historical setting: Spanish ships reached the western Caribbean Sea in 1492, searching for Asia and spices. Instead, the explorers found peaceful islanders, and enslaved them. By 1510, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica had been conquered. Only Cuba, the largest Caribbean isle, was still free. It was a time of hurricanes on an island of hope.

If you're a fan of Margarita Engle, then you're going to want to read one of her latest verse novels, Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. I have read and enjoyed so very many of her verse novels in the past that when I hear of a new one, I get a little thrill. Her work is something that I just look forward to. I have found her historical verse novels set in Cuba to be so good, so fascinating, so amazing. Hurricane Dancers did not disappoint. Though I'm not sure it is my favorite, favorite. (I don't think I could name a favorite, by the way.)

So Hurricane Dancers has five narrators: Quebrado (our main hero), Bernandino de Talavera (one of our villains), Alonso de Ojeda (another of our villains), Narido and Caucubu (a young couple madly in love with one another, but their parents don't approve).


I listen
to the song
of creaking planks,
the roll and sway
of clouds in sky,
wild music
and thunder,
the groans
of wood,
a mourning moan
as this old ship
her true self,
her tree self,
and growing,
on shore.

Read Hurricane Dancers

If you're a fan of Margarita Engle
If you're looking for a good book set in Cuba in the sixteenth century
If you're a fan of verse novels
If you're a fan of historical fiction
If you're looking for a good multicultural book
If you're looking to read a Pura Belpre Honor Book
If you're looking for a good coming-of-age story

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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