Bravo! Poems about amazing Hispanics

Margarita Engle

Book - 2017

"Bold, graphic portraits and beautiful poems present famous and lesser-known Latinos from varied backgrounds who have faced life's challenges in creative ways."--Provided by publisher.

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New York : Godwin Books/Henry Holt and Company 2017.
Main Author
Margarita Engle (author)
Other Authors
Rafael López, 1961- (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
  • Juan de Miralles
  • Félix Varela
  • Juana Briones
  • Paulina Pedroso
  • José Marti
  • Ynés Mexía
  • Louis Agassiz Fuertes
  • Aída de Acosta
  • Fabiola Cabeza de Baca
  • Arnold Rojas
  • Pura Belpré
  • George Meléndez Wright
  • Julia de Burgos
  • Baruj Benacerraf
  • Tito Puente
  • César Chávez
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Tomás Rivera.
Review by New York Times Review

In their brevity and directness, poems and photographs have much in common, Alexander points out in a note in this striking collaborative book. Sartore's up-close photographs of animals in need of protection, each elegantly set against a pure white or black background, are a plea for respect - and help. So is the spare poetry that wends through them, written in a loose haiku style and emphasizing all we humans share with animals. The words cut deep: "Remember, we are part of forever." A SONG ABOUT MYSELF Poem by John Keats. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. 40 pp. Candlewick. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 6 to 9) "There was a naughty Boy, /A naughty Boy was he." So begins a charming trifle the Romantic poet Keats included in a letter to his younger sister. With the Caldecott medalist Raschka's always enjoyable watercolor art, the puckish little poem makes an effervescent picture book. The boy has run "away to Scotland / The people for to see." Recounting the adventurous trip, he also catalogs his own wicked ways: "For nothing would he do / But scribble poetry." Be still my beating heart! BRAVO! Poems About Amazing Hispanics By Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Rafael López. 48 pp. Godwin/ Holt. $18.99. (Picture book; ages 8 to 12) López's bright portraits of notable Hispanics have the large scale and graphic discipline of poster art, while Engle manages to compress the sweep of a biography into a sharp, compact free-verse poem about each life, from childhood on. Some are famous, like César Chávez and Roberto Clemente. All faced challenges - many gut-wrenching, like Julia de Burgos's near starvation in childhood - and made lasting contributions. ONE LAST WORD Wisdom From the Harlem Renaissance Written and illustrated by Nikki Grimes and others. 119 pp. Bloomsbury. $18.99. (Ages 8 and up) Using the playful "golden shovel" form - a chunk of an older poem anchors a new poem, with one word from the old ending each line of the new - Grimes pays tribute to Harlem Renaissance poets like Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Bennett. Her haunting poems echo and update the earlier poets' themes of struggle, resistance and pride in the face of prejudice. Gorgeous works by 15 black artists, including Javaka Steptoe, the 2017 Caldecott medalist, add to the book's dazzle. OUT OF WONDER By Kwame Alexander, with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth. Illustrated by Ekua Holmes. 32 pp. Candlewick. $16.99. (Middle grade; 8 and up) Any young poet will be heartened by Alexander's reminder that "sometimes our poems sound like they were written by our favorite poets, and that is O.K." The three authors take turns emulating their idols, who include Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins and Terrance Hayes ("Make a paint box out of letters," that poem begins). Complementing the infectious mood of tribute is the spirited mixed-media artwork by Holmes ("Voice of Freedom"), a harmonious riot of color, texture and pattern. ONLINE An expanded visual presentation of this week's column at

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [April 9, 2017]
Review by Booklist Review

Latinos have made many wonderful contributions to the history of the United States, and Engle's poems on 18 amazing Latinos provides a chronological overview of the impact these figures have had. Vibrant full-page portraits pair with short verses that interweave biographical details from the person's life, giving readers an understanding of what makes each individual significant. Engle (recipient of the Pura Belpré and Newbery Honor Book awards, among others) tells stories of more commonly known Latino figures, like writer José Martí, as well as those who are more obscure, such as activist Paulina Pedroso. López's illustrations are beautiful, colorful, and lifelike, and each portrait contains a detail relevant to the subject's life. For example, the poem on botanist Ynés Mexía, Wild Exploration, is adorned with a verdant spray of leaves and flowers, while Brave Music shows Tito Puente against a bright backdrop patterned with drums. More detailed biographies for each individual conclude. This lovely compendium is most noteworthy for the diversity it portrays within the Latino community, showcasing a rich array of talents and achievements.--Rodríguez, Sonia Alejandra Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Eighteen Hispanic individuals from diverse professional and personal backgrounds are honored in Engle's plainspoken free-verse poems, written from each person's perspective. "I struggled to become a teacher/ and a poet, so I could use words/ to fight for equal rights for women," explains Puerto Rican activist Julia de Burgos, while George Meléndez Wright, the first chief of the National Park Service's wildlife division, speaks to his environmental passions: "Let us save rare species/ before it is too late!" López (who illustrated Engle's Dream Drum Girl) creates bold, dramatic portraits of the subjects, which include José Martí, Pura Belpré, Tito Puente, and César Chávez. Capsule biographies are a welcome supplement to the poems, which don't always fully contextualize the figures on their own. A Spanish-language edition is available simultaneously. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. Illustrator's agency: Full Circle Literary. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Engle highlights 18 Latinxs from a range of ethnic backgrounds and countries of origin, all of whom lived in what is now the United States or its territories. Each person made a positive impact on U.S. history, and although some are not well-known, their contributions warrant an important place in the U.S. collective cultural knowledge. Engle's masterly first-person poems capture the essence of each individual, while notes about each figure at the end provide context to spur curiosity and further research. Additionally, the final celebratory poem features an additional 22 contemporary Latinxs in a crescendo to the present, ending with applause: "¡Bravo!" The pairing of these biographical poems with López's distinctive artwork leaves a lasting visual impression, as the subjects, surrounded by images representing their vocations, look readers straight in the eye or are totally absorbed in their work. These full-page illustrations serve as bold counterparts to the poems. VERDICT Although lacking specific source notes for student readers and writers, this book is a welcome addition to schools and libraries, as it expands the canon of historically significant individuals in the United States in such a lyrical and aesthetically pleasing manner.-Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Chicago, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.