MLA Platinum Award Press Release

The Firefly Letters: Book summary and reviews of The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle

The Firefly Letters

A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba

by Margarita Engle

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle X
The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle
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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

“Starred Review. Like the firefly light, Engle’s poetry is a gossamer thread of subtle beauty weaving together three memorable characters who together find hope and courage. Another fine volume by a master of the novel in verse.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Through this moving combination of historical viewpoints, Engle creates dramatic tension among the characters, especially in the story of Elena, who makes a surprising sacrifice.” - Booklist

"The easily digestible, poetic narrative makes this a perfect choice for reluctant readers, students of the women's movement, those interested in Cuba, and teens with biography assignments. Grades 8+." - School Library Journal

"Based on the letters and diaries of Fredrika Bremer, a mid-nineteenth-century Swedish feminist and traveler, this verse novel is set in Cuba. …The imagistic, multiple first-person narrative works handily in revealing Bremer, an alert and intelligent woman in rebellion against her background of privilege." - The Horn Book

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Author Information

Margarita Engle

Margarita Engle is a Cuban-American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She lives with her husband in northern California.

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