Book Review: An Honest Boy, Un hombre sincero

An Honest Boy, Un hombre sincero

by Magdalena Zenaida

An Honest Boy, Un hombre sincero has all the qualities of an excellent picture book with the basic literary and historical components to teach a whole lesson plan unit! The gorgeous illustrations by Gaston Hauviller and a sprinkle of Spanish phrases written by José Martí himself, guides young readers to understand his life from Cuba to New York City as a teacher, poet, and fighter for education equality for all.

My six year old and I used a map to locate all the countries where José Martí lived, we practiced reading Spanish aloud, and discussed a little of Cuba’s history. We also watched a Celia Cruz video to listen to Guantanamera, a very famous song that José Martí’s Versos Sencillos inspired. I caught myself singing the phrases as they are beautifully and perfectly weaved into the story!

Note: The book is not a literal translation, but rather one that conveys the meaning of the poem.

The book is probably best suited for ages 8 and up but, my son and I took the opportunity to use clues in the sentences to decipher challenging vocabulary. I also had to stop briefly to discuss phrases such as “freedom of speech” and “exile.” Nevertheless, as a believer of using picture books to teach some of life’s toughest lessons inside and out of the classroom, books like Zenaida’s do just that with a bonus of teaching children about prominent and notable Latino authors like José Martí.

Disclosure: A digital copy of this book was provided for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Betty Galvan, is helping her readers “find the positive and seek the benefits” over at her blog,

She is the mother of three beautiful little boys and a teacher.

Photo credits: mikifoto by mallika malhotra

Leave a Reply