Cuba: “All the Way to Havana”

Since we traveled quite extensively at the beginning of the summer, I decided that I would like to write some posts suggesting books that can help you go on a vacation “by the book,” (by reading a great story).I have seen the book All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle in a handful of the trade journals that I read in order to hear about the best books to hit the market. This book seemed to fit the category I was aiming for, so I thought I would give it a try. I have never really thought much about Cuba until a friend told me that she was going to visit this year for Spring Break. She told me about all of the extra steps that her family needed to take to travel there because of US/Cuba relations and rules set up by the American and Cuban governments. Upon completing her trip, she posted pictures of her travels and it became evident that some aspects of Cuban life were frozen in time. One of those things is cars. As the author explains in the author’s note, “due to a complex historical situation, many of the American cars on the island of Cuba are pre-1959.”That’s what this book is about: a family that travels into Havana in their 1954 Chevy Delray in order to celebrate and visit a newborn family member. Ms. Engle’s poem is beautifully illustrated by Mike Curato in this standard-sized picture book. This book can be adapted for a variety of age levels. Use it as a richly illustrated picture read-aloud for littles or the springboard for an in-depth discussion about politics, history and foreign relations. Available at the Kitsap Regional Library (as soon as I return it).

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