Books Set in Cuba

The Life Of - La Vida de Celia Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780986109959
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Lil' Libros - January 2nd, 2018

A Lil' Libros Bilingual Biography

Known for her powerful voice and eccentric style, Celia Cruz has become one of the most popular singers in the world. In this book you'll introduce little ones to her remarkable life. Known as the "Queen of Salsa", the incomparable music of Celia Cruz continues to be sugar to our ears.

Unable to find bilingual first concept books she could enjoy reading to her baby, Patty Rodriguez came up with the idea behind Lil' Libros.

Patty and her work have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, CNN Latino, Latina Magazine, Cosmopolitan, People En Espanol, Cosmo Latina, and American Latino TV, to name a few. She is currently Sr. Producer for On Air With Ryan SeacrestiHeartMedia, jewelry designer for MALA by Patty Rodriguez, and creator of Manolos And Tacos.


Vámonos: Havana Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781947971424
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Lil' Libros - March 24th, 2020

Teach your baby about Havana, the capital of Cuba, through illustrations and words that will teach them about the world in English and Spanish.

Let's take a trip around the world with VAMONOS. In this colorful new series by Lil' Libros, each book celebrates the sights, sounds, and people of a different city both in English and Spanish.

Through adventurous illustrations, make a quick trip to Havana on the island of Cuba to play a little game of dominos with the abuelitos. Discover with your children what makes each city fantastic and special.

With simple text by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, and colorful illustrations by Lil' Libros' very own Ana Godinez, each book will have your little ones celebrating the world, fostering empathy, and seeing that there are a million ways to live on this planet


Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale Cover Image
By Carmen Agra Deedy, Michael Austin (Illustrator)
$8.95
ISBN: 9781561457878
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Peachtree Publishing Company - March 1st, 2014

The beautiful Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha doesn't know coffee beans about love and marriage, so when suitors come calling, what is she to do? Luckily, she has her Cuban family to help

While some of the Cucarachas offer Martina gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her some useful advice: spill coffee on his shoes to see how he handles anger. At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela's suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails the Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love.

After reading this award-winning retelling of the Cuban folktale, readers will never look at a cockroach the same way again. Also available in Spanish and in audio (read by the author), Carmen Agra Deedy delivers a delightfully inventive Cuban twist on the beloved Martina folktale, complete with a dash of caf Cubano.


Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music Cover Image
By Margarita Engle, Rafael López (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780544102293
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Clarion Books - March 31st, 2015

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.
        Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.


All the Way to Havana Cover Image
By Margarita Engle, Mike Curato (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781627796422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - August 29th, 2017

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 old car, Cara Cara, that the boy loves best. A joyful celebration of the Cuban people and their resourceful innovation.

ALSC Notable Book


Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa Cover Image
By Veronica Chambers, Julie Maren (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780142407790
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - July 19th, 2007

Everyone knows the flamboyant, larger-than-life Celia Cruz, the extraordinary salsa singer who passed away in 2003, leaving millions of fans brokenhearted. indeed, there was a magical vibrancy to the Cuban salsa singer. to hear her voice or to see her perform was to feel her life-affirming energy deep within you. relish the sizzling sights and sounds of her legacy in this glimpse into Celia’s childhood and her inspiring rise to worldwide fame and recognition as the Queen of salsa. Her inspirational life story is sure to sweeten your soul.


Martí's Song for Freedom: Martí Y Sus Versos Por La Libertad Cover Image
By Emma Otheguy, Beatriz Vidal (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780892393756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Children's Book Press (CA) - July 17th, 2017

A bilingual biography of Jos Mart , who dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty-abolishment of slavery, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual independence from colonialism for all Latinos. Written in verse with excerpts from Mart 's seminal work, Versos sencillos.

Yo soy un hombre sincero

De donde crece la palma,

Y antes de morirme quiero

Echar mis versos del alma

.

As a boy, Jos Mart was inspired by the natural world. He found freedom in the river that rushed to the sea and peace in the palmas reales that swayed in the wind. Freedom, he believed, was the inherent right of all men and women. But his home island of Cuba was colonized by Spain, and some of the people were enslaved by rich landowners. Enraged, Mart took up his pen and fought against this oppression through his writings. By age seventeen, he was declared an enemy of Spain and forced to leave his beloved island.

Mart traveled the world, speaking out for Cuba's independence. But throughout his exile, he suffered from illness and homesickness. He found solace in New York's Catskill Mountains, where nature inspired him once again to fight for independence.

Written in verse, with excerpts from Mart 's seminal Versos sencillos, this book is a beautiful tribute to a brilliant political writer and courageous fighter of freedom for all men and women.


Island Treasures: Growing Up in Cuba Cover Image
By Alma Flor Ada, Antonio Martorell (Illustrator), Edel Rodriguez (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9781481429009
Availability: Backordered
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 25th, 2015

The author of My Name Is María Isabel offers an inspiring look at her childhood in Cuba in this collection that includes Where the Flame Trees BloomUnder the Royal Palms, five new stories, and more.

These true autobiographical tales from renowned Hispanic author and educator Alma Flor Ada are filled with family love and traditions, secrets and deep friendships, and a gorgeous, moving picture of the island of Cuba, where Alma Flor grew up. Told through the eyes of a child, a whole world comes to life in these pages: the blind great-grandmother who never went to school but whose wisdom and generosity overflowed to those around her; the hired hand Samoné, whose love for music overcame all difficulties; the beloved dance teacher who helped sustain young Alma Flor through a miserable year in school; her dear and daring Uncle Medardo, who bravely flew airplanes; and more.

Heartwarming, poignant, and often humorous, this wonderful collection encourages readers to discover the stories in their own lives—and to celebrate the joys and struggles we all share, no matter where or when we grew up. Featuring the classic and award-winning books Where the Flame Trees Bloom and Under the Royal PalmsIsland Treasures also includes a new collection, Days at La Quinta Simoni, many new family photographs, and a Spanish-to-English glossary.


Letters from Cuba Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525516477
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 25th, 2020

Pura Belpré Award Winner Ruth Behar's inspiring story of a young Jewish girl who escapes Poland to make a new life in Cuba, while she works to rescue the rest of her family

The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther's father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It's heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they're reunited. And she does, recording both the good--the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent--and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther's evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it's too late.

Based on Ruth Behar's family history, this compelling story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the most challenging times.


Lion Island: Cuba's Warrior of Words Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781481461139
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 29th, 2017

In this “beautifully written, thought provoking” (School Library Journal, starred review) novel in verse, award-winning author Margarita Engle tells the story of Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent who becomes a champion for civil rights.

Asia, Africa, Europe—Antonio Chuffat’s ancestors clashed and blended on the beautiful island of Cuba. Yet for most Cubans in the nineteenth century, life is anything but beautiful. The country is fighting for freedom from Spain. Enslaved Africans and near-enslaved Chinese indentured servants are forced to work long, backbreaking hours in the fields.

So Antonio feels lucky to have found a good job as a messenger, where his richly blended cultural background is an asset. Through his work he meets Wing, a young Chinese fruit seller who barely escaped the anti-Asian riots in San Francisco, and his sister Fan, a talented singer. With injustice all around them, the three friends are determined to prove that violence is not the only way to gain liberty.


The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano Cover Image
By Margarita Engle, Sean Qualls (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9780312659288
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - March 15th, 2011

A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet, from Newbury Honor author Margarita Engle.

Winner of the 2008 Pura Belpre Medal for Narrative
A 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.

Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.


Days of Awe: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345441546
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ballantine Books - July 30th, 2002

“RICH AND SONOROUS PROSE . . . There’s plenty of reason to hope for the future of a fiction that welcomes writers with such a passionate sense of the past.”
–San Jose Mercury News


On New Year’s Day, 1959, Alejandra San José was born in Havana, entering the world through the heart of revolution. Fearing the turmoil brewing in Cuba, her parents took Ale and fled to the shores of North America–ending up in Chicago amid a close community of Cuban refugees. As an adult, Ale becomes an interpreter, which takes her back to her homeland for the first time. There, she makes her way back through San José history, uncovering new fragments of truth about the relatives who struggled with their own identities so long ago. For the San Josés, ostensibly Catholics, are actually Jews. They are conversos who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. As Alejandra struggles to confront what it is to be Cuban and American, Catholic and Jewish, she translates her father’s troubling youthful experiences into the healing language of her own heart.