The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist

by Margarita Engle

Newbery Honor-winner Margarita Engle tells the story of Cuban folk hero, abolitionist, and women's rights pioneer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda in this powerful YA historical novel in verse.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544541122
  • ISBN-10: 054454112X
  • Pages: 192
  • Publication Date: 09/15/2015
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book
    “I find it so easy to forget / that I’m just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts.” 


    Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts
  • Reviews

    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." 

    VOYA 4Q 2P M J S 


    "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 


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