Books: Fiction

Hurricane Dancers

Book — Fiction. By Margarita Engle. 2011. 160 pages.
Historical fiction in the form of poetry about the conquest and resistance.

Time Periods: 1492
Themes: Latinx, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance

Cuban American novelist Margarita Engle’s award-winning book of young adult historical fiction takes the form of poetry about the conquest and resistance.

The main character is a young man whose mother is Taíno and father is Spanish. Pirates hold him captive and use him as a translator. After a shipwreck he escapes and finds a Taíno community, only to be confronted again by his captors and the opportunity to determine their fate.

The rich language in this book makes it enjoyable, informative, and engaging for children and adults.

For example:


All faces turn toward me, both the painted ones and the bearded. I am the only one in this cave who understands two languages. My quiet voice feels like a small canoe gliding back and forth between worlds made of words.

About the Author

Margarita Engle is an award winning Cuban American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She is the author of young adult nonfiction books and novels in verse including The Surrender TreeThe Poet Slave of Cuba, The Firefly Letters, and Tropical Secrets. She lives in northern California.

Awards for Hurricane Dancers

  • 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor
  • ALSC 2012 Notable Children’s Book for older readers
  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults nominee
  • Poetry for Children Blog’s Top 20 Most Distinctive Books of Poetry 2011

ISBN: 9780805092400 | Henry Holt and Co