The Road to Santiago

By D.H. Figueredo • Illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla
Lee and Low Books • 2003 • 32 pages
Hardcover ($16.95)
ISBN: 978-1-584-30059-5
Ages 6-8

It’s Noche Buena, the night before Christmas in 1950s Cuba, and Alfredito is looking forward to his family’s annual trip from Havana to Santiago to celebrate with relatives.

He looks forward to arriving at Abuela’s house to observe the holiday as they do every year—by singing villancios, eating a big meal made up of traditional foods, playing with cousins, and attending la misa del gallo (mass) at midnight.

But this year, war has come to the island.  Rebels are hiding in the mountains, and the railroad tracks have been destroyed.  How will Alfredito and his family make their usual journey to Santiago?  How will he be able to play with his primos and eat the buñuelos that Abuelita only makes once a year?

Read Related: The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Road to Santiago is the story of the family’s journey and the many people who help them make their way across the island.  It is a story about the importance of family and tradition, and about the kindness of others. Due to the story’s length and subject matter, it is best suited for older elementary readers.  D.H. Figueredo’s author note at the end provides some historical context and explains that the book was inspired by his own experiences in Cuba in 1958.

Review by Katie Cunningham, Library Professional and Blogger, ¡Es Divertido Hablar Dos Idiomas!