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November 11 @ 11:00 am
José Martí (1853-1895) is Cuba’s national hero, patriotic leader, and writer. As a boy, he was inspired by the natural world. He found freedom in the river that rushed to the sea and peave in the palmas reales that swayed in the wind. Freesom, he believed, was the inherent right of all men and women. But his home island of Cuba was colonized by Spain, and some of the people were enslaved by rich landowners. Enraged, Martí took up his pen and fought against this oppression though his writings. By age seventeen, he was declared and enemy of Spain and forced to leave his beloved island.
Martí traveled the world, speaking out for Cuba’s independence. But throughout his exile, he suffered rom illness and homesickness. He found solace in New York’s Catskill Mountains, where nature inspired him once again to fight for independence. As he wrote in his seminal book Versos sencillos (1891).
Yo soy un hombre sincero/I am a sincere man
De donde crece la palma,/From where the palm tree grows,
Y antes de morirme quiero/And before I die I want
Echar mis versos del alma./To say the verses of my soul.
Written in verse, Martí’s Song For Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad is a beautiful tribute to a brilliant political writer and courageous fighter of freedom for all men and women.
Presented in collaboration with
About the Author:
Emma Otheguy is a children’s book author and a historian of Spain and colonial Latin America. She is a member of the Bank Street Writers Lab, and her short story “Fairies in Town” was awarded a Magazine Merit Honor by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Mrs. Otheguy lives with her husband in New York City. This is her picture book debut.