By: George Ancona
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish, 2000
Age Level: 7-11
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George Ancona first went to Cuba in 1957 when the revolution by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara was already under way. Forty years later he returns to capture on film the ways in which Cuba has changed since his last visit. What results is a timely and remarkable photo-study of the children of Cuba.
Filled with fascinating information, this invaluable combination of concise text and crisp photographs brings to life the Cuban culture, history, and spirit. Above all, it reveals in vibrant, full-color images real kids with real names and real stories. There is Yisel, who adores patty cake. Dairon and Lialne who, after school, study traditional Cuban music. Georgina who loves to listen to her grandfather’s stories. Much about Cuba is different from America, but much about their children is the same. They both blow out candles on birthday cakes baked by their mothers. They both love baseball. They both go to school and dream, of the future.
These photographs ensure that young readers will recognize the differences and appreciate the differences.
- A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, 2001
“Vibrant, full-color pictures of Cuban children and their families in rural and urban settings cover the pages of this upbeat and positive photo-essay. Celebrations, school, a doctor’s office, farm work, sports, making music, and dance are shown. Without broaching political differences between Cuba and the U.S., the text informs readers that education is free, even for university. Youngsters dressed in their school uniforms are depicted reading and writing in rustic classrooms. The photos also reflect a close-knit home life; the children are shown laughing and playing with makeshift sports equipment. The text alone suggests a life with few problems. The photos add balance, showing some of the challenges that the Cuban people face.”
– School Library Journal
“Photojournalist George Ancona takes his camera back to Cuba 40 years after his first visit, which was right in the middle of the revolution. What he finds four decades later is a country rich in history, culture, and traditions but short on things Americans take for granted like paper, gasoline, and medicine. Superb color photographs show children at work and play, emphasizing the love and pride they have in their country. Many of their activities will be familiar: Cuban kids love playing baseball, blowing out candles on birthday cakes, and listening to stories, with a few variations, of course. The well-written text also touches on the impact of communism, Castro, and other important names like Che Guevara and Jose Marti. A very fine portrait of modern Cuba.”