Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics


Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics
by Margarita Engle
Illustrated by Rafael López

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Illustrator Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Margarita Engle interview with Colorín Colorado:

Margarita Engle Bio:

Illustrator Information:

Rafael López Bio:

Video Interview with Rafael López:

Rafael López mural work:

Activities & Resources:


Country/City information:

Cuba Facts:

El Salvador Facts:

Mexico Facts:

Puerto Rico Facts:

Venezuela Facts:

Battle of Yorktown:


Plant facts:

Plant experiment:

Plant word scramble:

Flower word scramble:


Food facts:

Toadstool salad recipe:


Poetry for kids:

Bravo! is a collection of biographies written in free verse. Research a famous person you admire and then write a free verse poem about them.


Bird facts:

Facts about horses:

Trumpeter swan facts:

Airplane facts for kids:

Put together a world map puzzle, especially noticing the location of the Latin American and North American countries mentioned in Bravo!.

National Parks:

MakerSpace Activities:

Make a paper airplane. Challenge friends to see which design flies the greatest distance.

Gather recycled materials and create musical instruments.

Make a bird out of paper. Depending on the type of bird you made, build a birdhouse or a habitat for it.

Using aluminum foil, design a boat. Compete with your friends to see which boat can stay afloat while holding the most cargo. (perhaps use pennies as the cargo)

Use recycled materials such as cardboard, paper plates, pipe cleaners, tape, and ping pong balls, to design a miniature golf course hole.

Discussion Questions:

As you read through the poems, which person would you like to have met? Share your reasons.

Engle ends the poem about Juana Briones with – “I survive as a rancher and a healer, curing the sick with medicinal plants, and healing myself with independence.” What do you think she means by the last phrase?

In the poem, “Let the Birds Live”, Engle mentions that unlike other artists who killed birds to make them easy to pose, Fuertes learned to paint birds quickly so that they could continue to live and fly swiftly overhead. How do you feel about that? Would you be willing to kill and stuff an animal to paint a better picture?

The poem, “Life on Horseback”, depicts Arnold Rojas, who used to be a farmworker who picked oranges, but later moved north and learned to be a cowboy. “To learn, I had to listen to older men, and now I’m the one telling stories about my life of adventure on horseback.” Do you feel like this about your life, that now you are listening and learning, but eventually you’ll be the one teaching others? Explain.

Juan De Miralles was a friend of George Washington. When the American soldiers were starving at Yorktown, Washington asked De Miralles to sail his ships to Cuba so he could bring back fresh fruit for the soldiers. The poem ends, “Sometimes friendship is the sweetest form of courage.” What do you think this means?

In the poem, “The Magic of Words,” Engle’s last stanza reads, “I say that each day is a poem. Some hours are green and peaceful. Others are red, like festivals or storms.” Explain her description.

The poem “Two Languages at the Library”, begins “My journey to Nueva York has been a voyage made of stories that grow>” What do you think this sentence means?

The poem “Two Languages at the Library,” ends with “Nothing makes me feel more satisfied than a smile on the face of a child who holds an open book.” Can you identify with this line? Explain.

George Meléndez Wright convinced Congress to prohibit national park rangers from killing predators. Why do you think this was important? What do you think happened to mountain lions and other predators after this?

Julia De Burgos had a beautiful river of dreams. Explain what this means. What is your river of dreams?

César Chávez lead farmworkers in nonviolent protests, strikes, and boycotts. Explain what this means and how it works. What other public figures believed in this method for change?

Have you ever thought about how the fruits and vegetables you eat get to stores? Discuss what life might be like for migrant farmworkers and their families.

Do you think it’s important to celebrate the contributions of people from a particular culture? Explain.

The final stanza of the poem “Sharing Hope,” is “Fame has given me a chance to show how baseball is not the only part of life that needs teamwork.” What do you think this means? Do you agree? Are you involved in things that require teamwork? Explain.

In the poem, “Courageous Poetry,” one of the sentences is “I find poetry in tomato fields, and stories in the faces of weary workers.” What do you think the author means?

The poem, “Courageous Poetry,” ends with “Sometimes the best way to teach is by example”. How do you feel about this? Give examples of this strategy.

Sonia Sotomayor, is the first Latino ever appointed to the Supreme Court. Do you think having a Latino justice on the Supreme Court is important? Why or why not?

Several of the poems mention how long someone’s ancestors have lived in the United States. Have you ever thought about your family’s history in the U.S.? How far back can you trace your family’s roots?

Some of the featured Hispanics were exiled or had to flee their homeland. What characteristics or qualities are important for someone to abandon their home and move to a new country?

Lots of men have come from other countries in order to play on a U.S. professional baseball team. What do you think motivates them? What do you think it’s like for them to transition to living and working in the U.S.?

Book Talk Teasers:

Read the Readers Theater for this book.

Read the first paragraph in the letter to “Dear Readers” from Margarita Engle, that precedes the first poem in this book.

Read Alikes:

Culture and customs, Poetry

Messengers of rain and other poems from Latin America. An anthology of poems translated into English presents traditional pre-Columbian work alongside contemporary poetry collected from nineteen Latin American countries, ranging from nature and nonsense to politics and magic. (Novelist K-8).

Soto, Gary. Neighborhood odes. Twenty-one poems about growing up in an Hispanic neighborhood, highlighting the delights in such everyday items as sprinklers, the park, the library, and pomegranates. (Novelist K-8).

Animal books, Biographies

Engle, Margarita. The sky painter: Louis Fuertes, bird artist. A collection of poems that explore the life of Louis Fuertes and his sense of wonder when he painted living, flying birds in their natural habitats. (Novelist K-8).

Bilingual materials, Folklore, Short stories

Cofer, Judith Ortiz. Animal jamboree: Latino folktales = La fiesta de los animales : leyendas latinas A collection of four Puerto Rican folktales featuring a lion, mice, and a brave little ant, as well as other animals. (Novelist K-8).

Essays, Poetry, Short stories

Ada, Alma Flor. Yes! We are Latinos. A collection of stories about young Latino’s immigrant experiences in the United States. (Novelist K-8).


Engle, Margarita Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics
48 pp. Holt 2017. ISBN 978-0-8050-9876-1
(3) 4-6 Illustrated by Rafael López. Engle’s poetry paints a diverse picture of the Latino community with an exquisitely curated selection of exceptional figures, some well known, others unrecognized even within their own communities. López’s vibrant portraits of each subject contain abstract visual nods to his or her life themes and work. Biographical notes are appended. Spanish-language edition also available.  Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of Horn Book, Inc.

Engle, Margarita. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics. Henry Holt and Company, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s, 2017. School Library Journal (January 1, 2017)
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: “íBravo!” The pairing of these biographical poems with López’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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal , 2017.

Engle, Margarita. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics. Henry Holt and Company, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s, 2017. Booklist (November 1, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 5)
Grades 2-5. Latinos have made many wonderful contributions to the history of the United States, and Engle’s poems on 18 “amazing Latinos” provides a chronological overview of the impact these figures have had. Vibrant full-page portraits pair with short verses that interweave biographical details from the person’s life, giving readers an understanding of what makes each individual significant. Engle (recipient of the Pura Belpré and Newbery Honor Book awards, among others) tells stories of more commonly known Latino figures, like writer José Martí, as well as those who are more obscure, such as activist Paulina Pedroso. López’s illustrations are beautiful, colorful, and lifelike, and each portrait contains a detail relevant to the subject’s life. For example, the poem on botanist Ynés Mexía, “Wild Exploration,” is adorned with a verdant spray of leaves and flowers, while “Brave Music” shows Tito Puente against a bright backdrop patterned with drums. More detailed biographies for each individual conclude. This lovely compendium is most noteworthy for the diversity it portrays within the Latino community, showcasing a rich array of talents and achievements.  Used with the permission of Booklist