The Road to Santiago

by D.H. Figueredo and Pablo Torrecilla

D.H. Figueredo’s picture book story is based on memories of his own Cuban childhood... read more

D.H. Figueredo’s picture book story is based on memories of his own Cuban childhood in the 1950s. Alfredito can’t wait to get to his grandmother’s house in Santiago for Noche Buena, the night before Christmas. There, his extended family and all the traditional holiday food await him. But this year, war has broken out. As the government and the rebels fight, transportation is disrupted. There will be no train to Santiago from Havana. Thanks to the kindness of strangers and a disgruntled but complying bus driver, Alfredito and his parents do eventually make it to Santiago, but not before a few harrowing moments from Alfredito’s point of view. They join the rest of the family who have gathered at Abuela’s house to celebrate and give thanks. An author’s note places the story in 1958, and explains that the rebels who were fighting the dictatorial government were led by an insurgent named Fidel Castro. But the story remains centered on young Alfredito’s perspective, which is much more concerned with the possibility of missing out on his grandmother’s buñuelo, a traditional honey-coated pastry, than who is fighting whom. Spanish artist Pablo Torrecilla’s full-color paintings form the visual backdrop for the story. (Ages 6–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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