Martí's Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad
Cuban poet and political activist José Martí witnessed an injustice at a young age and gave his life trying to right that wrong. He opposed slavery in Cuba and knew that the only way to end it would be to free Cuba from Spain’s rule. Cuban American author Otheguy illuminates the life of a young man endeavoring to make a difference through affecting bilingual verses, which make Cuba’s complicated history with slavery and colonialism accessible to young readers. By incorporating excerpts of Marti’s writing into the narration, Otheguy introduces a new generation of readers to an important champion of human rights. Vidal’s gouache artwork captures the beauty and the injustice of which Martí wrote, showcasing his country’s vibrant colors, as in the pinks and oranges of the sunset, and illustrating the harsh treatment of enslaved Africans, who are shown performing backbreaking labor in sugarcane fields. Dominguez’s excellent Spanish translation makes Martí’s story available to a wide audience, and the text offers significant additional information via an afterword on Cuba’s history, a selected bibliography, and excerpts from Martí’s Versos Sencillos. Otheguy and Vidal tell a timely story that will inspire many to fight for equality and sings songs for freedom.