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My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhoodby Rosemary Wells
Synopses & Reviews
A young Cuban immigrant eases his homesickness by re-creating the city of Havana in a poignant tale that will resonate with readers today.
"Youre always drawing in that notebook of yours," Dinos friend teases. To the small boy, 1950s Havana is alive with color, music, and glamour, and he itches to capture it on paper. When Fidel Castro and the Communist Party take over the Cuban government, Dinos family must move to New York, where the lonely boy pours his heart into making a model of Havanas archways and balconies, buildings and streets. Rosemary Wells composes a tender ode to an immigrant boy who grew up to be a U.S. architect, while Peter Fergusons atmospheric paintings evoke two vibrant cities as they were half a century ago.
"After hearing a radio interview with Fernandez, an Ã©migrÃ© architect, Wells tracked him down and asked to collaborate on a story about his childhood, which they deliver in this short novel that brims with feeling. From a young age, Secundino, called 'Dino,' filled sketchpads with renderings of Havana's architecture. Until 1954, when he moves to Spain temporarily to help an ailing family member, Dino's 'world is sweet' ('Havana is like another mother to me, dressed in beautiful colors with sparkling jewelry'). This sentimentality is balanced by the loss Dino feels when Castro takes over and his family leaves for good. His new home in Manhattan is initially unwelcoming ('When you fall and scrape your skin on pavement, that is how New York feels against the eye,' he recalls). The solution to his homesickness is to build an elaborate model of the Cuban capital on his bedroom floor. Ferguson's illustrations are infused with a burnished ochre light, well suited to Dino's warm memories. The ending, in which Dino and a new friend ascend a fairground ride at Coney Island and spot distant land--could that be Cuba?--is supremely satisfying. Ages 7 — 10. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
After Fidel Castro and the Communist Party take over the Cuban government in 1959, young Dino and his family flee to New York City. There, the lonely boy pours his heart into making a model of Havana's archways and balconies to ease his homesickness. Illustrations.
About the Author
Rosemary Wells has written or illustrated more than sixty books for children and has received numerous awards. She is the creator of the beloved Max and Ruby stories and the illustrator of MY VERY FIRST MOTHER GOOSE, edited by Iona Opie. She lives in upstate New York
Dino Fernandez moved from Havana, Cuba, to the United States with his family in 1959. He lives in New York and works as an architect.
Peter Ferguson is a comic and editorial artist who has illustrated three books and written two novels for children. He lives in Montreal, Canada.
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