Hurricane Dancers

Quebrado has been traded from pirate ship to ship in the Caribbean Sea for as long as he can remember. The sailors he toils under call him el quebrado—half islander, half outsider, a broken one. Now the pirate captain Bernardino de Talavera uses Quebrado as a translator to help navigate the worlds and words between his mother’s Taíno Indian language and his father’s Spanish. But when a hurricane sinks the ship and most of its crew, it is Quebrado who escapes to safety. He learns how to live on land again, among people who treat him well. And it is he who must decide the fate of his former captors.

One thought on “Hurricane Dancers

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hurricane Dancers is a fictional account of historical events. It tells three different stories that take place in 1509 or 1510. The first story is about Quebrado, a half native, half Spanish boy who has been enslaved and is seeking his freedom. The second story focuses on Bernardino de Talavera and Alonso de Ojeda’s story of greed. Bernardino de Talavera is the first pirate of the Caribbean Sea, who captured both Alonso de Ojeda, who prior to being captured was a ruthless conquistador who eventually became the Governor of Venezuela and Quebrado. The final story of the book was the love story of Caucubú and Naridó, two natives who are not supposed to fall in love, but do and must escape their families in order to be together.

    This book offers a counter narrative to the mainstream tales of the Spaniards conquering both the lands and the natives in the Americas. Through the character of Quebrado, Engle portrays the treatment of the native people by the Spaniards. She also shows the strength in knowing two different cultures and two languages and how it ultimately aided his survival once on land.

    For me, Quebrado was an endearing character that teaches forgiveness and how to move forward, even after such extreme hardship. His true character shines through in the end, when the fate of his captors rests in his hands.

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