WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: All the Way to Havana

All the Way to Havana by Margarita EngleThe colorful picturebook, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle with illustrations by Mike Curato, is set in modern day Cuba. It focuses on a family celebration and how Cuban resourcefulness keeps American cars from the 1950s running. A boy narrates the trip his family takes from the country to Havana in their precious old car, Cara Cara, a 1954 Chevy. Before they can take off, Papa and his son have to fix the car. They try and try to fix the silly noises. “The rattling parts have ben fixed with wire, tape and mixed-up scraps of dented metal.” Finally, “Cara Cara once again begins to sound like a chattering hen!”

The illustrations depict the sights along the road to the big city. When they arrive the road is full of “noisy old cars of every color….” As the family travels through the city, they see the variations in architecture and shops along the way. When they arrive at Tia’s house, the boy greets his extended family and helps celebrate his cousin’s zero-year birthday. “After lunch, cake, music and a happy birthday fiesta” the boys needs a quiet siesta. The visit ends too soon and the family travels back to their village. The next morning the boy and Papa work on the car again and he learns the car will be his someday.

Don’t miss the author and illustrator’s notes at the end that give background information about the island and how old American cars are refurbished. The lyrical poem is filled with onomatopoeia that spark the text. The end papers picture 24 old cars kept in running condition by the ingenuous people of Cuba. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA

ISBN: 9781627796422
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
PubDate: August 29, 2017

Each month a committee of Worlds of Words advisors recommends a book published within the last year. Our hope is to spark conversations on our website and on social media about the book that expand global understandings and perceptions. Please join us by leaving a comment. You can also share your thoughts with us by using the hashtag #WOWRecommends on social media.

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MTYT: Lion Island

For this final conversation around “Rethinking conceptual otherness in history: Exploring untold histories in the U.S. and global communities,” Michele Ebersole and Yoo Kyung Sung give their takes on Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words by Margarita Engle. They began the discussion with A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxua and Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner.

Lion Island by Margarita Engle Continue reading