Book details

Macmillan Children's Book

All the Way to Havana

Author: Margarita Engle; illustrations by Mike Curato

All the Way to Havana

All the Way to Havana


About This Book

Showcasing the colorful buildings and iconic classic cars of Havana, this verse picture book follows a Cuban boy and his family on their road trip into the city.
Page Count
On Sale
Age Range

Book Details

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

Imprint Publisher

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)



In The News

"Engle and Curato provide a child's view of Cuba that is extremely accessible and as striking as it is unforgettable. A vibrant snapshot of modern Cuba, full of rich, sensory detail." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on All the Way to Havana

" He and Engle chronicle Cara Cara’s journey in loving detail as the family moves along the coast and into bustling city streets, giving readers glimpses into daily Cuban lives—newlyweds in a Dodge convertible, laundry hanging from balconies as “a sea breeze sings.” It’s a wonderful introduction to America’s very nearby neighbor." —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on All the Way to Havana

"Engle’s tone is upbeat throughout: she highlights modest country vistas, picturesque contemporary Havana, busy people going about their daily chores, and the profusion of noisy vintage cars. Curato’s vibrant pencil and digital illustrations depict iconic images of Cuba—small farms, city neighborhoods, and government buildings—all in photographic detail. . . A lyrical and beautiful offering that should help to humanize views of this island nation." —Booklist, starred review, on All the Way to Havana

"A fun addition to the ever-popular genre of transportation picture books—this one with a unique perspective and message of perseverance." —School Library Journal, starred review, on All the Way to Havana

"Engle and Curato collaborate on this captivating road trip, with the steady pulse of Engle’s text (prosy on the page, labeled as poetry in the author’s note) punctuated by taka takas, roars, growls, whines, and putt putts of the vehicles, and Curato’s illustrations gliding smoothly from country- to city-scapes, never far from the edge of the sea. . . catnip for the Cruise Night crowd and for any kid who dreams of one day owning a classic set of wheels." —The Bulletin on All the Way to Havana

"Engle’s use of onomatopoeia, at times replacing the sound of the car with animal sounds (honks, roars, growls, whines), gives a sense of the modern-day blend of rural and city life . . . The mixed-media illustrations capture the brilliant colors and scenic beauty of the island—both landscape and cityscape—as well as the multiracial makeup of its people." —The Horn Book on All the Way to Havana

Drum Dream Girl:

"A beautiful account of a young girl's bravery and her important contribution toward gender equality in the creative arts." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The heroine’s tenacity in the face of naysayers will inspire all dreamers." —School Library Journal, starred review

Little Elliot, Big City:

"a terrific emerging talent, with gorgeously rendered images that bring to mind the moodiness of Chris Van Allsburg and the sweetness of William Joyce." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Curato, a debut author and illustrator, tucks several gentle messages into one simple story that's perfect for the age group. It is, however, his almost cinematic artwork that's the real showstopper." —Booklist, starred review

About the Creators

All the Way to Havana

All the Way to Havana