Cuba: After the Revolution

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Photojournalist Bernard Wolf traveled to Cuba to produce a book of photographs that give a rare picture of what life is like today on this economically strapped island so close to our shores. The striking, perceptive photographs are accompanied by sprightly text that explains the situation and gives some brief background on Castro's Cuba. Readers are then introduced to a twelve-year-old girl and her family. She is the daughter of two artists, who are well-off by Cuban standards, and American children can compare ...
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Overview

Photojournalist Bernard Wolf traveled to Cuba to produce a book of photographs that give a rare picture of what life is like today on this economically strapped island so close to our shores. The striking, perceptive photographs are accompanied by sprightly text that explains the situation and gives some brief background on Castro's Cuba. Readers are then introduced to a twelve-year-old girl and her family. She is the daughter of two artists, who are well-off by Cuban standards, and American children can compare their lives with hers. Always highly praised for his gorgeous photography, Bernard Wolf presents a sensitive portrait of a talented girl and her immediate world

In words and pictures, describes the daily life of Ana Moreira, the daughter of two Havana artists, as she goes to school, takes ballet lessons, and plays in the park.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the wake of the excitement surrounding the Buena Vista Social Club documentary and recordings, Wolf (HIV Positive; If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem) presents a complex portrait of contemporary Havana. He opens this photo-essay with an overview of the political, economic and social history of Cuba, follows with a panoramic view of the capital city, then narrows the focus to document the daily life of 12-year-old Havana resident Ana Moreira. The photos are extraordinary for their ability to convey the diversity of faces, the beauty of a city rising up from the ocean, and the decay of architecture that was once captivating. Supplementing the photos, the informal narrative succinctly describes the complexities of Cuba's economy and politics, yet occasionally feels oversimplified (e.g., "Ever optimistic, Cubans are remarkably friendly, courteous, and helpful, not only to one another but to total strangers"). While Wolf exposes the many incongruities of life in Cuba, he does little to explain them (e.g., he posits, "The quality of medical care in Cuba is outstanding. The only major problem is the lack of critical medication and advanced technical medical equipment needed to diagnose and treat serious illnesses"). The strongest section focuses on Ana and her family. Here readers glimpse a typical day at home, school and ballet practice as well as a peek at her parents' art studios. Zeroing in on these specific areas also allows Wolf to effectively expand his points to society at large. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Wolf's informative photo essay takes a quick look at Cuba's troubled past and gives a brief but dramatic glimpse into Cuba under Fidel Castro's communist regime. Meager salaries, constant shortages, crumbling buildings, and strict government controls currently make life a daily struggle. Regardless of economic problems, Cubans continue to be a warm, friendly, family-oriented people, whose children are cherished and considered the country's greatest national treasure. Much of this book focuses on one of these children. Living with her prominent artist parents in Havana, Cuba's capital, twelve-year-old Ana Moreira is a seventh grader who plans to become a ballet dancer. Wolf's camera follows Ana's daily routine from her home to her classroom, to her ballet lessons, and to leisure activities with her family and friends. It is clear that her family enjoys a higher standard of living than the average Cuban. They have a comfortable home, a car, and appear to lead a relatively good life. Ana is talented and dedicated, and although her homeland's outlook is uncertain, her own future looks hopeful. The arts are regarded highly, with strong support and encouragement from the government. Despite graphic portrayals of Cuba's present dismal situation, this representation is not a depressing book. Photojournalist Wolf's vivid pictures also show the citizens of Cuba as strong and proud. They endure their adverse circumstances with dignity and are still able to laugh and enjoy life's simple pleasures. Young adult librarians might want to consider this picture book as a supplemental addition to their Latin American sections—especially in light of recent media coverage of Cuba's most famous youngnative, Elian. Photos. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 1999, Dutton, 62p, $16.99. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Delia A. Culberson

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525460589
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.44 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.47 (d)

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