Sunday, March 6, 2011

2011 Poetry Book: "Hurricane Dancers"


Engle, M. (2011). Hurricane dancers: the first Caribbean pirate shipwreck. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Co. ISBN: 9780805092400.


Margarita Engle wrote a very high quality tale of a Spanish pirate named Bernardo de Talavera, his slave named Quebrado and a hostage named Alonso de Ojeda. All three were left to swim for shore when a hurricane destroyed their ship. The slave, Quebrado, was a very smart young man who spoke two languages (Taino and Spanish) and this knowledge ultimatly helped to save his life when he found a Ciboney Indian tribe on this new found island. The pirate, Bernardo de Talavera, and his hostage, Alonso de Ojeda, were not so fortunate because they did not speak nor understand the language of the island natives. Ultimately, Quebrado decides the fate of these two men by warning the island natives about the dangers these two men pose. Quebrado befriends a Ciboney fisherman named Narido and is captivated by the beauty of a young Ciboney woman named Caucubu. The story takes some twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged. Engle did a good presentation of poetic free verse for each of her characters and the reader will be able to recognize the tone and rhythm of each character while reading their verses. An interesting aspect of the story is the historical setting which is sure to attract history enthusiasts of any age. Great book and compelling story that should be in every library’s collection!



The hurricane
falls silent.

We step out of the cave,
and find masses
of writhing sea things
that look like snakes,
moons, flowers
and stars....

The Woman of the Wind
taught all these creatures
how to fly.

What will the hurricane
teach me?

Introducing the Poem:

This is a great poem to introduce children to the power of mother nature and how one can turn a weather event into poetic form. I would ask children to journal a weather event they experienced or viewed on a television and write a short poetic verse reflecting the power of such an event.

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