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All the Way to Havana
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All the Way to Havana

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  905 ratings  ·  223 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Henry Holt and Company
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  905 ratings  ·  223 reviews


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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diversity
A boy and his family get their old car running and head off to Havana for a celebration in this book with startlingly beautiful illustration and rich text. You will come away from this book with a deep appreciation for the stubborn persistence of Cuba's people and the lush beauty of their land.
Abigail
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories Featuring Cuba, and the Embargo on Cuba
This new picture-book from Cuban-American poet and children's author Margarita Engle follows the story of one day in the life of a young boy and his family, as they make the trip from their home in the country to big city Havana for an important celebration. Forced by circumstance - namely, the U.S. embargo against trade with Cuba that has been in place since the late 1950s - to improvise, the young narrator's family continues to use the same automobile that belonged to the boy's ...more
Chance Lee
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book for young ones and the older ones reading to them. This is the story of a young boy riding in the ramshackle family car to a party celebrating the birth of a new baby in the family. The car makes noises that are fun to imitate. The illustrations are beautiful, with subtle colors and details. Car enthusiasts may enjoy the endpapers and cover (under the dust jacket) depicting 1950s automobiles -- the cars that crowd Cuba's streets. An author's and illustrator's note at the end ...more
Bookishrealm
This was definitely a great picture book and step into understanding the cultural differences of those that live in poverty and those that are more fortunate. While this book does not directly address the history of Cuba, it does show that due to the economic and political struggles of Cuba many individuals learn to become more creative with their resources which is why it is easy to find cars from the 60s still running and functioning on the streets of Cuba. The author made a great notation in ...more
Amy
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
First, let me say that author, Engle, tells a great tale. Illustrator, Mike Curato also shows a great story with his bold and beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, I don't see them telling the same exact story. For example, on the page with the boy holding the wrench, the words say "... A twist here. A tightening there. Move this. Hold that. Try one way, then the other ..." It would have been better if Curato could have shown the boy actually using the wrench on something.

On another page is a
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Robin Loughlin
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
All the Way to Havana is a bright and vibrant book, full of beautiful illustrations and adventure. It is written from a young boy's perspective, and shows an appreciation of traveling from a small village to a large city in a car filled with family, to celebrate the birth of a new baby. In reading the book, I was surprised at the colorful, older cars that filled the streets, as they drove, since it seemed a more modern book. But the Author and Illustrator notes at the end of the book explained ...more
Marjorie Ingall
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-3-6, kids-4-8
Gorgeous art -- I love that Mike Curato can do cute elephants AND incredibly detailed vintage cars! The story is sweet and onomatopoetic, and any kid who loves cars will pore over the images. Parents and teachers should be prepared to go into more detail about why Cuba is so full of ancient, still purring vehicles.

Reading this is like a warm, easy bath.
Earl
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lyrical text and beautiful illustrations- one of my Caldecott contenders for the year, in fact!- will take readers along for the ride as a family drives across Cuba in a car that despite having seen better days has been taken care of over the years to have it do what's it supposed to do. I love when picture books seems to only be one thing but actually has multiple layers written into it.
Danielle
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A book that is an immersive, sensory experience.
Anamaria
Taka taka is exactly how a Cuban would describe the sounds a car makes. It's the little things.
Marissa Elera
This trip through Cuba is so richly told through both text and illustration that I can feel the warmth and sounds all around me. A wonderful tour. Brava/Bravo!
Lynn
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know someone born in Cuba around 1956, who escaped from Cuba with his sister and mother carrying only a suitcase (their father, a physician, was detained, but much later also escaped). An older brother was previously sent to Miami via the Peter Pan Project to avoid conscription into Castro's military. Miraculously, there were all reunited a number of years later.
I thought about this family as I read this book, thinking this could have been them before they left the country! I am anxious to
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Justina Wemhoff
The text connection that I am focusing for this book is Text to Self. My oldest brother has a 90's Grand Prix. Every single time the boy and his father worked hard to fix Cara Cara, I thought of my brother's car. His car constantly has something new wrong with it, the passenger door won't open, the doors' locking mechanism stopped working, the gas gage is way off, the visor mirror fell off, etc. Every time that happens, my brother has a new and creative way to fix it ranging form duct tape to ...more
Debrarian
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great endpapers of old cars.
Great title page: double-page spread looking out an old dash.
Apt poetic comparison of a happy old engine clucking like a hen.
Monumental-type illustrations of strong, happy looking people of many colors against the warmly glowing backdrop of Cuba's back roads and Havana's streets of lively urban decay.
The story itself, a poem paean to old cars and the ingenuity that keeps them running, clunked along a bit for me - seemed like it was trying both to be a sensory hymn
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Clara Jeong
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is stated in the ALA (American Library Association) Noble list. The title portrays an image of traveling and the city of Havana. Just by reading the title, I realized this book was written about what it life and the surroundings are like in a different culture. The author portrays the Havana culture through Spanish and the sights the boy and his family see around them as they travel to Havana in their car.

I recommend this book to young readers who have yet to experience different
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Mary Ann
I love how Margarita Engle so completely capture's a young child's point of view, especially all of the different car sounds: “Some of this island’s old cars purr like kittens, but ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck. Today Cara Cara sounds like a tiny baby chick, pio pio, pio pio, pfffft." But most of all, I love how father and son work together to fix the car: "No luck, but we keep trying and trying, even though all the silly ...more
Frances Hotchkiss
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All the Way to Havana was a complete joy to read! The exquisite, colorful, realistic illustrations made me feel as if I were there. I could sense the joy, excitement and wonder of the boy and his family as they traveled to the big city to visit the new baby cousin. The sound effects and the close relationship the boy and is father have as they work on Cara Cara is very special. And all of the beautiful classic cars will be a big hit for young and old alike! This is a complete work of art!!!
Beverly
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Car-loving kids will really like this family's journey to Havana in their classic Chevy. The will also like the drawings of 24 classic cars and trucks on the end papers. The illustrator's mixed media illustrations, which include pencil acrylic and photo overlay and other mixed media, capture the excitement in the faces of the traveling family, and the beauty and bright colors of all the classic cars.
Jillian
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
The text was fine - full of fun car noises to imitate! - but the illustrations are the real gem in this book. The ancient cars are all lovingly drawn, right down to the cracked windows and steering wheels cannibalized from other vehicles.
It gives a really neat look into the ingenuity of the Cuban people, who've had to keep these cars limping along in the face of trade embargoes and economic sanctions.
Julie Kirchner
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have a great fascination with Cuba and I would love to visit the country. My brother visited a short while after President Obama allowed travel there. The photos he shared are very similar to Mike Curato’s illustrations. The idea of having to make do with what you have and being creative and industrious enough to do so is amazing! Loved all the old cars with he mix and not match parts! Great story using a lyrical poem with lovely illustrations.
June
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cuba, Hispanic and car requests
Just read this to a PreK 4 class, that had requested a family story time. Some of the children were talking about cousins, so I chose this story of a boy who helps his father with fixing their old car so they can travel to a cousin's zero year birthday party. Having a zero year birthday raised some questions, but having the car sounds seemed to keep their attention.
Peacegal
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Striking, detailed, and realistic illustrations are the highlight of this simple story of a Cuban family making a trip to celebrate the birth of a new family member. I have a soft spot for 1950s cars; I loved looking at them in the illustrations and I'm sure many kids will enjoy them too, in all of their finned, chromed glory.
Carrie
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
All the Way to Havana brings a boy's experience in Cuba to life as he rides through town with family in a 1954 Chevy 210. Other beautiful, brightly colored classic cars line the streets in this beautiful picture book. Onomatopoeia provides opportunities for children to participate in the reading. Great book!
Nikki
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The rhythmic text makes the sounds of Cuba and old cars come alive, this is a book that is meant to be read out loud and would even be a great way to introduce the history of Cuba to older elementary school students.
Tina
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations in this work make one feel like they are in Havana, or at least what those of us who have yet to visit believe it looks like. A story about family, it is also a story about cars and working with papa to keep abuelo's car running so one day it may be passed down again.
Jennifer Strong
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, children-s
Lots of text. Pictures were pretty but also a little boring.
Racheal
Beautiful story of family and Cuban perseverance and ingenuity
Emily Scheinman
I love this book and I also love both the author and illustrator's note in the back.
Shauna Yusko
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at a country we have lots of questions about.
Nancy Kotkin
In their patched-together relic of a car, a Cuban family travels from their rural village to the city of Havana for the "zero-year birthday" of a cousin. Celebrates the Cuban resourcefulness that keeps all their American cast-off cars running for decades longer than Americans believe possible. Text is a free-verse poem. Beautiful authentic-looking Cuban scenery. Vintage cars from the 1950s are featured on the endpapers.
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Margarita Engle is a Cuban-American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She lives with her husband in northern California.