Winner of the Pura Belpre Award, this novel is verse follows a nurse named Rosa through all the years of Cuban struggle for freedom. First, it is the slaves seeking freedom from their masters. Later, it is the Cubans seeking freedom from Spain. Always, there is a need to run and hide and escape. And a need for those who can heal. Based on people who worked during the turmoil, the poems that frame the story are spare and eloquent in their simplicity. In a poem at the conclusion of the opening section are these two haunting lines:
"Hatred must be
a hard thing to learn."