Today’s Featured Book of Color is The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzanao by Margarita Engle.
Cuban poet Juan Francisco Manzano was born into a slave owner’s household in 1797. From the time of his birth, his life was not his own. He was forced to call a woman “Mama,” who wasn’t his real mother. And even though he was not allowed to go to school, he still had a remarkable way with words, and his talent showed through in his poetry.
As a poet slave, Manzano wrote many beautiful poems with haunting imagery to showcase the cruelty he went through as a slave. His poetry would help him out of many punishments and he would perform his poems in front of his mistress’guests. Learn more about Manzano’s rough life with Engle’s free verse book.