Off to Havana!
A boy is thrilled to visit his new cousin in the city, but another member of the family, the beautiful, blue antique car called Cara Cara, isn’t quite ready yet. (The importance of family and the fact that technology and money are in limited supply come together in the affection the boy holds for Cara Cara, the family heirloom that’s been inventively repaired over many years and will belong to the boy himself someday.) Finally, after the boy and his father tinker under the hood, they are off. Colorful, detailed illustrations and animated, evocative text, peppered with Spanish and full of the excitement of a journey, guide readers through their small Cuban town, over roadways, and past other vintage cars to the destination—a family celebration! Energetic descriptions engage virtually all of the senses and will draw in readers across gender, race—the characters are primarily brown-skinned, and the protagonist’s family is mixed-race, with a black father and pale-skinned mother—and nationality, while politics go unmentioned, as appropriate to the age of the audience. By focusing on the boy’s observations and experiences—clothing hanging on a line, the understanding that you’ll always give your neighbors a ride, the sights and sounds of old cars, the presence of crumbling balconies, the scent of the sea—Engle and Curato provide a child’s view of Cuba that is extremely accessible and as striking as it is unforgettable.
A vibrant snapshot of modern Cuba, full of rich, sensory detail. (Picture book. 3-8)