The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle
A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba

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The freedom to roam is something that women and girls in Cuba do not have. Yet when Fredrika Bremer visits from Sweden in 1851 to learn about the people of this magical island, she is accompanied by Cecilia, a young slave who longs for her lost home in Africa. Soon Elena, the wealthy daughter of the house, sneaks out to join them. As the three women explore the lush countryside, they form a bond that breaks the barriers of language and culture.

In this quietly powerful new book, award-winning poet Margarita Engle paints a portrait of early women’s rights pioneer Fredrika Bremer and the journey to Cuba that transformed her life.


The Firefly Letters is a 2011 Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative and a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

About Margarita Engle

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Margarita Engle is the author of several award-winning novels in verse, including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor Book. Her picture book Summer Birds was a Kirkus Best Book for Children. She lives in northern California, where she enjoys helping her husband train his two wilderness search and rescue dogs, Chance and Maggi. Mary Morgan has illustrated more than forty children's books and written several too, including Dragon Pizzeria. Mary and her husband divide their time between Semur en Auxois, a small village in France, their sailboat in the Mediterranean Sea, and visiting their family.
Published March 16, 2010 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). 160 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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And 12-year-old Cubana Elena feels trapped in her wealthy existence, she and her mother moving “like shadows / lost in their private world / of silk and lace.” The free-verse novel effectively alternates the voices of the three protagonists (with a fourth voice for Beni, Cecilia’s husband) and de...

| Read Full Review of The Firefly Letters: A Suffra...

A Patchwork of Books

His poetry emphasized clear language and a lot of his political work dealt with social reform and opposing imperial excess.I think this shows in his poetry, such as the poem I'm sharing todayBuying FlowersAlmost late spring in the imperial city;Noise and bustle from passing carriages and horses.P...

May 26 2014 | Read Full Review of The Firefly Letters: A Suffra...

Viva Cuba, about two kids traveling alone across the country, is available on Netflix and a great way to see the landscape while learning about the culture.

Jul 09 2013 | Read Full Review of The Firefly Letters: A Suffra...

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