The Lightning Dreamer

Margarita Engle‘s biographical and historical novel-in-verse (it is a fictionalized account of the young lightning-notableGertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda) dives into the heart and soul of a young poet who is not allowed to read books because “girls who read too much are unladylike”. Tula (Gertrudis’s childhood nickname) narrates the majority of the poems, but there are a few from her brother, Manuel, and Sab, the boy she loves but who doesn’t love her back. Others that give a perspective poem here and there include The Orphans who Tula puts on plays for; The Nuns, who allow Tula to read anything she wants; Caridad, who runs away to Havana because of the strength she gains by listening to Tula’s poems and plays; and Mamá, who is Tula’s main antagonist.

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist illuminates Cuban history from 1827 to 1836 via an intensely personal experience, and Engle’s poems offer the beauty of insight.


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
This entry was posted in Children's novels, Poetry, Voice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Lightning Dreamer

  1. Pingback: Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba | An Education in Books Blog

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