Bravo!: Poems about Amazing Hispanics

by Margarita Engle (Author) Rafael Lopez (Illustrator)

Bravo!: Poems about Amazing Hispanics
Reading Level: 6th − 7th Grade

Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot--the Latinos featured in this collection, Bravo!, come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today!

Biographical poems include: Aida de Acosta, Arnold Rojas, Baruj Benacerraf, César Chávez, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Félix Varela, George Meléndez, José Martí, Juan de Miralles, Juana Briones, Julia de Burgos, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Paulina Pedroso, Pura Belpré, Roberto Clemente, Tito Puente, Ynes Mexia, Tomás Rivera

Select format:

Find books about:

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4-7--Engle highlights 18 Latinxs from a range of ethnic backgrounds and countries of origin, all of whom lived in what is now the United States or its territories. Each person made a positive impact on U.S. history, and although some are not well-known, their contributions warrant an important place in the U.S. collective cultural knowledge. Engle's masterly first-person poems capture the essence of each individual, while notes about each figure at the end provide context to spur curiosity and further research. Additionally, the final celebratory poem features an additional 22 contemporary Latinxs in a crescendo to the present, ending with applause: "Bravo!" The pairing of these biographical poems with Lopez's distinctive artwork leaves a lasting visual impression, as the subjects, surrounded by images representing their vocations, look readers straight in the eye or are totally absorbed in their work. These full-page illustrations serve as bold counterparts to the poems. VERDICT Although lacking specific source notes for student readers and writers, this book is a welcome addition to schools and libraries, as it expands the canon of historically significant individuals in the United States in such a lyrical and aesthetically pleasing manner.--Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Chicago, IL

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Eighteen Hispanic individuals from diverse professional and personal backgrounds are honored in Engle's plainspoken free-verse poems, written from each person's perspective. "I struggled to become a teacher/ and a poet, so I could use words/ to fight for equal rights for women," explains Puerto Rican activist Julia de Burgos, while George Melendez Wright, the first chief of the National Park Service's wildlife division, speaks to his environmental passions: "Let us save rare species/ before it is too late!" Lopez (who illustrated Engle's Dream Drum Girl) creates bold, dramatic portraits of the subjects, which include Jose Marti, Pura Belpre, Tito Puente, and Cesar Chavez. Capsule biographies are a welcome supplement to the poems, which don't always fully contextualize the figures on their own. A Spanish-language edition is available simultaneously. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. Illustrator's agency: Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Lopez's bright portraits of notable Hispanics have the large scale and graphic discipline of poster art, while Engle manages to compress the sweep of a biography into a sharp, compact free-verse poem about each life, from childhood on. Some are famous [...] All faced challenges [...] and made lasting contributions." —New York Times Book Review on Bravo!

"this book is a welcome addition to schools and libraries, as it expands the canon of historically significant individuals in the United States in such a lyrical and aesthetically pleasing manner." —School Library Journal, starred review, on Bravo!

"This book features the lives of a variety of Latinos who faced life's challenges with aplomb and in their own ways. . . each person is stunningly portrayed in López's strong and vibrant style; opposite is a first-person biographical poem that provides a glimpse into its subject's life." —Kirkus Reviews on Bravo!

"López (who illustrated Engle's Drum Dream Girl) creates bold, dramatic portraits of the subjects, which include José Martí, Pura Belpré, Tito Puente, and César Chávez. Capsule biographies are a welcome supplement to the poems" —Publishers Weekly on Bravo!

The Poet Slave of Cuba

"An absolutely lovely book . . . that should be read by young and old, black and white, Anglo and Latino." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Readers will hear the stories—and never forget them." —Booklist, starred review

"The moving poetry and finely crafted story will draw readers in and leave them in tears and in awe." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

Margarita Engle
Margarita Engle (she/her) is the Cuban American author of many books, including the verse novels Your Heart, My Sky; Rima's Rebellion; Newbery Honor winner The Surrender Tree; and Forest World. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, the latter of which received the Pura Belpré Award and a Walter Dean Myers Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among other honors. Her picture books include Drum Dream Girl, Dancing Hands, and The Flying Girl. Visit her at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Henry Holt & Company
Publication date
March 14, 2017
BISAC categories
JNF007000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | General
JNF038050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | Caribbean & Latin America
Library of Congress categories
Hispanic Americans
Latin Americans

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!