I recently visited the main branch of the Miami Public Library System and was strongly impressed by what I found. Although the entire library was elegant, spacious, well-stocked and easy to decipher, the teen’s section was truly remarkable.
There were large signs indicating that only 12-19 year-olds were allowed to use the area, which was equipped with computers, lounge chairs and large arched windows.
One of the section’s featured books caught my eye, so I picked it up. It is called “The Lightning Dreamer” and is by Margarita Engle, a multiple-award-winning children’s author. The book is part of the increasingly popular historical fiction genre. It is about Cuban feminist and abolitionist Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, who shunned the comforts available to her as a member of an elite family to become a poet and activist.
The reason why the novel is unique, though, is that it is written entirely in free verse. Below is a sample of the type of verse found throughout the book — simple, to the point, almost prosaic. Perfect for its audience. Perfect, even, for an occasional adult intrusion into the realm of the teen.