Martí's Song For Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad

by Emma Otheguy, Josae Martai, Beatriz Vidal, and Adriana Domainguez

Equal parts poet and political revolutionary, José Martí devoted his life... read more

Equal parts poet and political revolutionary, José Martí devoted his life to fighting for Cuba’s freedom from Spain. As a young man, after witnessing the injustice of slavery on his home island, Martí was inspired to help the enslaved, who had “souls like his own—souls that should be free.” When Cuba’s Ten Years’ War—the fight for independence from Spain—began, Martí joined the cause as a political writer, for which he was imprisoned and then eventually exiled from Cuba. But Martí traveled “from country to country,” continuing to advocate for Cuba’s independence. After living in New York for a few years, Martí returned to Cuba to become a soldier in the Cuban War for Independence. He died in battle. Written in elegant verse, the narrative of Martí’s activism is complemented by stanzas from his own Versos sencillos. As a poet, he drew inspiration not only from his political work, but from his deep appreciation for nature, writing about the beauty of both Cuba and New York’s Catskill Mountains. This is a moving tribute to a man who, tragically, died before seeing his dream of Cuban independence come to pass. (Ages 7-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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