Travels in Cuba

Travels in Cuba

Written by: Gay, Marie-Louise
Illustrated by: Gay, Marie-Louise
Written by: Homel, David
ages 7 to 10 / grades 2 to 5

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Even for an experienced traveler like Charlie, Cuba is a place unlike any he has visited before — an island full of surprises, secrets and puzzling contradictions.

When Charlie’s artist mother is invited to visit a school in Cuba, the whole family goes along on the trip. But the island they discover is a far cry from the all-inclusive resorts that Charlie has heard his friends talk about.

Charlie has never visited a country as strange and puzzling as Cuba — a country where he often feels like a time traveler. Where Havana’s grand Hotel Nacional sits next to buildings that seem to be crumbling before his very eyes. Where the streets are filled with empty storefronts and packs of wild dogs, but where flowers and sherbet-colored houses may lie around the next corner, and music is everywhere. Where there are many different kinds of walls — from Havana’s famous sea wall to the invisible ones that seem aimed at keeping tourists and locals apart.

Then the family heads “off the beaten track,” traveling by hot, dusty bus to Viñales, where Charlie makes friends with Lázaro, who often flies from Miami to visit his Cuban relatives. The boys ride a horse bareback, find a secret cache of rifles inside a little green mountain and go swimming with small albino fish in an underground cave. A rent-a-wreck takes the family into the countryside, where they find an abandoned hotel inhabited by goats, and a modern resort filled with tourists.

And as he goes from one strange and marvelous escapade to another, Charlie finds that his expectations about a place and its people are overturned again and again.

Key Text Features
illustrations

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Even for an experienced traveler like Charlie, Cuba is a place unlike any he has visited before — an island full of surprises, secrets and puzzling contradictions.

When Charlie’s artist mother is invited to visit a school in Cuba, the whole family goes along on the trip. But the island they discover is a far cry from the all-inclusive resorts that Charlie has heard his friends talk about.

Charlie has never visited a country as strange and puzzling as Cuba — a country where he often feels like a time traveler. Where Havana’s grand Hotel Nacional sits next to buildings that seem to be crumbling before his very eyes. Where the streets are filled with empty storefronts and packs of wild dogs, but where flowers and sherbet-colored houses may lie around the next corner, and music is everywhere. Where there are many different kinds of walls — from Havana’s famous sea wall to the invisible ones that seem aimed at keeping tourists and locals apart.

Then the family heads “off the beaten track,” traveling by hot, dusty bus to Viñales, where Charlie makes friends with Lázaro, who often flies from Miami to visit his Cuban relatives. The boys ride a horse bareback, find a secret cache of rifles inside a little green mountain and go swimming with small albino fish in an underground cave. A rent-a-wreck takes the family into the countryside, where they find an abandoned hotel inhabited by goats, and a modern resort filled with tourists.

And as he goes from one strange and marvelous escapade to another, Charlie finds that his expectations about a place and its people are overturned again and again.

Key Text Features
illustrations

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — May 1, 2021
Specifications 128 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Supporting Resources
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Excerpt
Written By

MARIE-LOUISE GAY is an internationally acclaimed children's book creator. She has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her popular Stella and Sam series has been translated into more than fifteen languages and is loved by children all over the world. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Illustrated by

MARIE-LOUISE GAY is an internationally acclaimed children's book creator. She has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her popular Stella and Sam series has been translated into more than fifteen languages and is loved by children all over the world. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Written By Born and raised in Chicago, David Homel is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist and translator. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.
Written By

MARIE-LOUISE GAY is an internationally acclaimed children's book creator. She has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her popular Stella and Sam series has been translated into more than fifteen languages and is loved by children all over the world. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Illustrated by

MARIE-LOUISE GAY is an internationally acclaimed children's book creator. She has won two Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her popular Stella and Sam series has been translated into more than fifteen languages and is loved by children all over the world. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Written By
Born and raised in Chicago, David Homel is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist and translator. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.
Audience ages 7 to 10 / grades 2 to 5
Reading Levels Fountas & Pinnel Text Level R
Guided Reading R
Key Text Features illustrations
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6

Winner, OLA Best Bets, 2021

[D]oes a lovely job of highlighting Cuban culture while also addressing directly the very real issues that come with over 60 years of communist rule.

” —Kirkus Reviews

Lively writing and thoughtful observations make this series a rare treasure.

” —Toronto Star

With authentic dialogue and plenty of humour, along with Gay’s familiar quirky drawings, this is a highly recommended book.

” —Winnipeg Free Press

The characters are realistic, the story detailed and colourful, all of which makes it easy for readers to feel that they are right there in Cuba with Charlie and Max.

” —CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Praise for Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel and Travels in Cuba:

OLA Best Bets, 2021

Winnipeg Free Press Top Reads of 2021

"[D]oes a lovely job of highlighting Cuban culture while also addressing directly the very real issues that come with over 60 years of communist rule." — Kirkus Reviews

"Lively writing and thoughtful observations make this series a rare treasure." — Toronto Star

"With authentic dialogue and plenty of humour, along with Gay’s familiar quirky drawings, this is a highly recommended book." — Winnipeg Free Press

"The characters are realistic, the story detailed and colourful, all of which makes it easy for readers to feel that they are right there in Cuba with Charlie and Max." — CM: Canadian Review of Materials


Praise for Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel and The Traveling Circus:


“...hints of gravity punctuate but do not puncture the holiday fun; readers like Max and Charlie who have grown up in safety will emerge thoughtful but not traumatized. A salutary, unusual look at part of the world rarely seen in North American children’s literature, wrapped up in family fun.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The prose is spry, literate, and lively, making this, and the whole series, a must for budding world-travelers.” — The Horn Book

“Well-drawn characters and an enjoyable, episodic narrative make the fourth chapter book in the Travels with My Family series well worth reading.” — Booklist