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My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhood Hardcover – August 10, 2010
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From School Library Journal
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Top Customer Reviews
In 1954, Secundino (Dino) is six years old. He loves Havana and is constantly sketching the city buildings. Oct. 1954, is the first time the Fernandez family leaves Havana. The family moved to Spain for 3 years. Dino's father must look after his brother's family, while he recovers from a rooftop fall. Dino still carries a sketchbook but many times the pages stay empty. Dino misses home. At school Dino is teased for his Cuban accent. It's in Spain, where Dino first hears the word dictator and what it means to be ruled by one.
Abuela buys eggs and butter in secret from a man who hides them under his cloak and comes to the back door at night. Almost nothing from the outside, goods or medicine, ever makes its way into Francisco Franco's Spain. "Franco makes himself and his friends rich," says Abuela Maria "while the rest of us live on bread and water." She says this very softly as if someone might be hiding and listening.
In 1956, the Fernandez family move back to Havana. Dino's parents go back to work at the restaurant they own. In 1959 when Fidel Castro comes into power, its time for the Fernandez family to say good bye to Havana.
The book is filled with many facts and is very readable. I can almost see Fernandez sharing his childhood memories with Wells. I don't know where Ferguson, the illustrator was, but he couldn't have been very far. The gorgeous illustrations perfectly match the text. Also think they make My Havana that much more appealing to young readers.
There aren't many books for the 8 and older set that mention 1.Read more ›
It thus came as a rude shock when a family emergency led Dino and his parents to leave Havana for Spain. For a two-year period marked by frugal living under Spain's dictatorial Franco regime, Dino struggled with intense homesickness as he longed for Havana's splendor and friendlier way of life. Upon returning home, however, he learned that Cuba's own political problems would make it impossible for his parents to continue operating their restaurant in Havana. Leaving Cuba permanently proved heart-wrenching for Dino until he found comfort in building his own kind of Havana.
Based on the personal recollections of New York City-based architect Secundino Fernandez, My Havana offers readers a unique glimpse of Havana and its inhabitants in pre-Communist times. The narrative blends in several economics concepts, including the economic role of government in socialist economies and the importance of small business opportunities for supporting household well-being. Exquisite illustrations add a visually appealing element and help readers to better understand Dino's attachment to Havana's culture and architecture.
It is impossible to read this book without hoping that someday the beautiful buildings of Dino's Havana will once again flourish and thrive.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My Cuban born husband said, "yup, that's the way it was" when it came time to leave his beloved country as a 9 year old child.Published 19 months ago by Mer