Incredible historical fiction in verse with immense research behind it Of an era I knew nothing about until this novel the landscape of Cuba in the 1870s Forced to work in the fields were enslaved Africans and Chinese indentured servants who often were often kidnapped and forced into signing 8 year indenture contracts over and over again Additionally, Chinese families were fleeing from anti Asian riots in California and settling in as well on the island Lion Island tells the story of An Incredible historical fiction in verse with immense research behind it Of an era I knew nothing about until this novel the landscape of Cuba in the 1870s Forced to work in the fields were enslaved Africans and Chinese indentured servants who often were often kidnapped and forced into signing 8 year indenture contracts over and over again Additionally, Chinese families were fleeing from anti Asian riots in Californi 3.5 stars In A Haunting Yet Hopeful Novel In Verse, Award Winning Author Margarita Engle Tells The Story Of Antonio Chuffat, A Young Man Of African, Chinese, And Cuban Descent Who Became A Champion Of Civil Rights.Asia, Africa, Europe Antonio Chuffat S Ancestors Clashed And Blended On The Beautiful Island Of Cuba Yet For Most Cubans In The Nineteenth Century, Life Is Anything But Beautiful The Country Is Fighting For Freedom From Spain Enslaved Africans And Nearly Enslaved Chinese Indentured Servants Are Forced To Work Long, Backbreaking Hours In The Fields.So Antonio Feels Lucky To Have Found A Good Job As A Messenger, Where His Richly Blended Cultural Background Is An Asset Through His Work He Meets Wing, A Young Chinese Fruit Seller Who Barely Escaped The Anti Asian Riots In San Francisco, And His Sister Fan, A Talented Singer With Injustice All Around Them, The Three Friends Are Determined That Violence Will Not Be The Only Way To Gain Liberty. I actually read some additional background while I was reading this story of Cuba s past when that country fought for freedom from Spain I wantedinformation to help me understand the story Margarita Engle allows three young people to tell the story through her poems A girl Fan and a boy Wing are twins who escaped anti Chinese riots in San Francisco, escaping with only their father when the mother and brother died during the escape They meet a boy Antonio who is mixed blood from Asia, I actually read some additional background while I was reading this story of Cuba s past when that country fought for freedom from Spain I wantedinformation to help me understand the story Margarita Engle allows three young people to tell the story through her poems A girl Fan and a boy Wing are twins who escaped anti Chinese riots in San Francisco, escaping with only their father when the mother and brother died during the escape They meet a boy Antonio who is mixed blood from Asia, Africa and Europe, and whose family issettled, appear to havepower and money Later in the story, this father, a Continuing to mine Cuba s rich history for stories of civil rights and resiliency, Margarita Engle introduces readers to Antonio Chuffat, a Chinese African Cuban messenger 12 when the book begins and Wing, a Chinese fruit seller who had to flee San Francisco with his family, including his sister Fan who loves to sing Antonio is convinced that words have power, a postulate that becomes increasingly clear to him over the course of the book as the three friends find different ways to push agains Continuing to mine Cuba s rich history for stories of civil rights and resiliency, Margarita Engle introduces readers to Antonio Chuffat, a Chinese African Cuban messenger 12 when the book begins and Wing, a Chinese fruit seller who had to flee San Francisco with his family, including his sister Fan who loves to sing Antonio is convinced that words have power, a postulate that becomes increasingly clear to him over the course of the book as the three friends find different ways to push against the unfair practices of the day Violence and war might be one w I learned a lot about Chinese indentured workers in Cuba from this book. Lion Island is a brilliant blend of cultures set in Cuba during the late 1800 s This novel takes the format of narrative poetic prose by telling the tale of the hopes and losses of the three main characters who struggle to choose peace and diplomacy over violence Antonio Chuffat, a young Cuban messenger boy with a multicultural heritage, Wing, a young Chinese refugee who sells fruit from his father s orchard, and Fan, Wing s young sister with a gift for poetry and a natural talent for singing Lion Island is a brilliant blend of cultures set in Cuba during the late 1800 s This novel takes the format of narrative poetic prose by telling the tale of the hopes and losses of the three main characters who struggle to choose peace and diplomacy over violence Antonio Chuffat, a young Cuban messenger boy with a multicultural heritage, Wing, a young Chinese refugee who sells fruit from his father s orchard, and Fan, Wing s young sister with a gift for poetry and a natural talent for singing and touching the hearts of many Wing, Fan, and their father barely made is to I was absolute intrigued right from the start of this book, in particular because I had not known that in mid to late 19th century many Chinese Americans had fled California s anti Asian riots to Cuba, an island at the time experiencing war as well, brought about by struggles for independence from the Spanish In this struggle African slaves fought alongside American Chinese immigrants and indentured servants and the native population The Chinese emperor at the time had signed a treaty with Sp I was absolute intrigued right from the start of Like every book I ve read by Engle, this book feels utterly perfect and, to my shame, new in informational terms I didn t know that Chinese Chinese American laborers went to Cuba when they fled California s brutal, murderous white people Despite two high schoo Although this book was really short I think that the author put in a lot of detail into it I thought this book wasn t going to be good but I ended up liking it I recommend this book to anyone who likes books with a different type of setting