The Surrender Tree
By Margarita Engle
This book was given to my daughter, Maren, by the local librarian in whom she has found a kindred spirit, and who is always pulling her aside to share some new book that she thinks Maren would "really appreciate". Well, Maren devoured this book in the first night and, since she is routinely devouring books, I thought nothing of it. When returning the book to the library, I pulled the librarian aside and thanked her, telling her how much Maren enjoyed it. "Well....did you read it???" was the lady's next question. So back to our home it came and I have to confess that I too devoured it!
It is a young adult book that is written in the form of short poems describing Cuba's many struggles for its freedom. It recounts the true stories of the author's ancestor who was a "witch nurse" whose knowledge of traditional herbal medicines made her invaluable to the runaway slaves and refugees of Cuba's many wars. The book is a fast read and one that opened my eyes to the struggles of this little country that I had never known.
Many of the lines are beautiful and thoughtful and went right from the pages of the book to the pages of the literary journal I keep. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.