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|Dreams from many rivers : a Hispanic history of the United States told in poems|
Author: Engle, Margarita
A middle grade verse history of Latinos in the United States, told through the voices of many and varied individuals ranging from Juan Ponce de Leon to modern-day sixth graders.
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/19)
School Library Journal (10/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2019 Ambitiously covering more than 500 years of history, Engle brings an imaginative and personal voice to an impressive variety of perspectives. In an opening “Historical Note,” she clarifies that the poems of fictional characters are presented under a first name, while those of historical figures include a surname or title—important, as readers will want to use this book as a launchpad into their own research of these real stories. Starting with the native people of Borikén in 1491 and ending in contemporary times, the poems tell of resistance to colonialism, of the courage and anguish of indigenous lives that were changed forever by the arrival of the Spanish, of the incessant greed, and of resilience. Occasionally, a real or fictional character is heard multiple times, giving a sense of the passage of time. Gradually, poems start to reflect political views, anger against racism and injustice, patriotic national pride, dreams, and desires—Engle leaves no stone unturned. A useful supplement to Rethinking Columbus (1998) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People (2019). - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2019 Gr 5–7—Engle addresses gaps in U.S. history for Latinxs, particularly topics that some may prefer omitted from cultural memory and the school curriculum. She does so through her signature free verse poetry format, with the overarching narrative told from multiple fictional and historical, first-person perspectives. Starting in an idyllic pre-Columbian Borikén (now the territory of Puerto Rico), the title spans more than five centuries, with the remaining five parts of the work set in the United States. Some of these sections receive more attention than others, but Gutierrez Hernandez's illustrated U.S. maps coupled with Engle's brief introductions serve as helpful organizers, situating the subsequent poetic content geographically, historically, and topically. Although the author lays out the book's parameters, limitations, and questions it raises, the spaces of unstated details and time periods between poems require readers to have strong background knowledge or adult scaffolding for full comprehension. Resources referenced in the acknowledgments validate the vigorous research that went into the creation of this work—but unfortunately, do not provide middle and high school students with age-appropriate sources to answer their own questions after reading. VERDICT This title may be helpful to raise student interest and engagement in related social studies lessons, or as a mentor text for instruction in writing historical fiction or biographical free verse poems, especially given the paucity of coverage Latinx history receives in the school curriculum.—Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.