Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple
Engle, Margarita.
New York : Henry Holt, 2006.
IL 5-8, RL 4.8
ISBN 0805077065
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Juan Francisco Manzano was a rather remarkable child by any standards.  The fact that he was a slave in Cuba during the nineteenth-century adds to the incredible story.  Told in verse, this the the story of Juan's life as he lives as a slave to several owners in Cuba.  His first mistress treats him as a pet and enjoys showing him off.  Juan can memorize poetry and opera and even the works of Homer and recite for the amusement of those around him.  Although his mistress treats him well, he is still a slave.  His mistress frees Juan's parents and promises Juan's freedom when she dies.  But this does not happen and Juan is taken by a cruel mistress who both loves and despises Juan.  Through it all, Juan composes poetry that reflect both the beauty he sees and the horror he endures.
SUBJECTS:     Manzano, Juan Francisco, 1797-1854 -- Poetry.
                        American poetry.
                        Slaves -- Poetry.
                        Poets -- Poetry.
                        Cuba -- Poetry.
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