for All the Way to Havana
by Margarita Engle
and Mike Curato
“We have a gift and we have a cake and today we’re going to drive all the way to the big city to see my new baby cousin on his zero-year birthday!” To get to Havana from his village home, the young narrator and his family will drive Cara Cara, their beautiful, beloved old sky blue car that “chatters like a busy chicken—cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck cluck … ” But Cara Cara sounds more like a baby chick when they start the engine. So the boy and his papá open the hood and twist and tighten and experiment until the car sounds fine again. On the trip they pick up neighbors in needs of rides, and zoom through the countryside, along the water, and into the busy city full of “noisy old cars of every color.” The young narrator embodies childlike enthusiasm, while playful onomatopoeia add to the energy of an account set against mixed-media illustrations infused with island colors and light. Both the author and illustrator provide notes talking about the abundance of old cars in Cuba and the ingenuity of Cubans that keeps them running. Highly Commended, 2018 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 5-8)
CCBC Choices 2018. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018. Used with permission.
So we purr, cara cara, and we glide, taka taka, and we zoom, zoom, ZOOM!
Together, a boy and his parents drive to the city of Havana, Cuba, in their old family car. Along the way, they experience the sights and sounds of the streets-neighbors talking, musicians performing, and beautiful, colorful cars putt-putting and bumpety-bumping along. In the end, though, it's their old car, Cara Cara, that the boy loves best. A joyful celebration of the Cuban people and their resourceful innovation.
ALSC Notable Book
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.