“Why does a woman born to wealth and privilege give it up to fight for women's rights? Readers will find part of the answer in Margarita Engle's new novel, The Firefly Letters. Written in poetry, the experiences of Fredrika Bremer, Cecilia the slave, and Elena the plantation owner's daughter transport the reader to the early days of the Suffragette's movement in the 1850s.”
— Laura DeLaney, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, ID
The freedom to roam is something that women and girls in Cuba do not have. Yet when Fredrika Bremer visits from Sweden in 1851 to learn about the people of this magical island, she is accompanied by Cecilia, a young slave who longs for her lost home in Africa. Soon Elena, the wealthy daughter of the house, sneaks out to join them. As the three women explore the lush countryside, they form a bond that breaks the barriers of language and culture.
In this quietly powerful new book, award-winning poet Margarita Engle paints a portrait of early women's rights pioneer Fredrika Bremer and the journey to Cuba that transformed her life.
"The Firefly Letters" is a 2011 Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative and a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.