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Public Library

2016 One Book, One San Diego

Waiting for Snow in Havana:

Confessions of a Cuban Boy


Carlos Eire



About the Book 

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In 1962, at the age of eleven, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba--exiled from his family, his country, and his own childhood by the revolution. The memories of Carlos's life in Havana are at the heart of this stunning, evocative, and unforgettable memoir. Waiting for snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. For the Cuba of Carlos's youth--when its lizards and turquoise seas and sun-drenched siestas--becomes an island of condemnation once a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Fidel Castro ousts President Batista on January 1, 1959.
Suddenly the music in the streets sounds like gunfire. Christmas is made illegal, political dissent leads to imprisonment, and too many of Carlos's friends are leaving Cuba for a place as far away and unthinkable as the United States. Carlos will end up there, too, and fulfill his mother's dreams by becoming a modern American man--even if his soul remains in the country he left behind. Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is a eulogy for a native land and a loving testament to the collective spirit of Cubans everywhere.
Although Waiting for Snow in Havana won the National Book Award in 2003 and has been translated into more than a dozen languages, it is banned in Cuba.

Book Reviews

About the Author

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Carlos Eire was born in Havana in 1950 and left his homeland in 1962, one of fourteen thousand unaccompanied children airlifted out of Cuba by Operation Pedro Pan. After living in a series of foster homes, he was reunited with his mother in Chicago in 1965. Eire earned his PhD at Yale University in 1979 and is now the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with his wife, Jane, and their three children.
Following the events in Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire’s second memoir, Learning to Die in Miami, explores his experience as an immigrant in America. He has also written a book on religion, A Very Brief History of Eternity, and several books on Medieval and European history.



Video Interview | Carlos Eire: What it’s Like to Write Two Very Different Kinds of History

Author Q & A Interviews

Book Discussion

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Further Reading & Related Resources

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Operation Pedro Pan

Video | Carlos Eire: Operation Pedro Pan: A 50 Year Perspective

Audio | Children of Cuba Remember Their Flight to America | NPR Around the Nation. November 19, 2011



Reading Lists

One Book Events

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Salsa Anyone?: A One Book One San Diego Dance Party
Wednesdays, November 2, 9 & 16, 2016 | 6:30 - 8 PM | Central Library/Garden Courtyard
Dance for the health of it and join the hottest dance scene in the country. Wednesdays, November 2, 9, and 16 in the Garden Courtyard. Master salsero and blues musician Dennard Clendenin will teach you the basics of salsa and how to cut up on the dance floor. Then on Saturday, December 3, practice the steps you learn at a salsa music concert fronted by San Diego jazz legend Gilbert Castellanos. Wear sneakers and comfortable clothes and bring your water bottle.
Latin Dance Class
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | 6:30 PM | University Community Branch Library
Learn the basics of bachata, merengue and salsa. Have fun, meet new people and keep your brain sharp by integrating different parts of your brain through the coordination, rhythm and strategy of dance.
Book Club Discussion: Waiting for Snow in Havana
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | 6:30 PM | Mira Mesa Branch Library
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 | 6:30 PM | Univeristy Heights Branch Library
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 | 6 PM | Skyline Hills Branch Library
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | 6 PM | Clairemont Branch Library
Book club discussion of this year's One Book, One San Diego selection Waiting for Snow in Havana -- the story of a young boy's journey from Cuba to the U.S.
Gilbert Castellanos Presents: A Tribute to the Latin Jazz Masters
Saturday, December 3, 2016 | 6 PM | Central Library / Neil Morgan Auditorium
San Diego jazz legend and world-class trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos fronts an Afro-Cuban music concert in conjunction with the annual One Book One San Diego reading campaign. Joined on stage by some of Southern California's brightest musicians on the scene today - Tommy Aros (congas), Irving Flores (piano), Charlie Chavez (timbales), and Omar Lopez (bass).
Get ready for an exciting and high-energy musical salute to Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Chano Pozo and Tito Rodríguez, just to name a few!
Film Screening: Juan of the Dead
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | 6 PM | Carmel Mountain Ranch Branch Library
Saturday, October 29, 2016 | 3 PM | La Jolla/Riford Branch Library
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | 6 PM | Otay Mesa Branch Library
First there was Dawn of the Dead. Next there was Shaun of the Dead. Now the zombies have invaded Cuba and one man stands between the apocalypse and freedom.
One Book, One San Diego 10th Anniversary Event with Children's Author, Donna K. Lazo Gilmore
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 | 4 PM | Carmel Valley Branch Library
Donna K. Lazo Gilmore will read from Cora Cooks Pancit, which captures the warmth between mother and daughter as they share a piece of their Filipino heritage. With bright and charming illustrations by Kristi Valiant, Cora's family comes alive as Cora herself becomes the family's newest little chef. Copies of the book will be for sale and can by signed by the author.
Abuelito's Mexican Christmas Carol
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 | 6 - 8 PM | Central Library / Neil Morgan Auditorium
It's almost Navidad, and Abuelito is woken up by his adoring grandchildren to tell the story of how the miserly Ebenifacio L. Scrooge came to love Christmas and learned to care for others. Whimsical, Latino version of a Charles Dickens tale presented by Amigos del Rep in conjunction with the annual One Book One San Diego community-wide reading campaign.
Film Screening: Strawberry & Chocolate
Friday, January 13, 2017 | 6 PM | San Carlos Branch Library
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 | 6 PM | Otay Mesa Branch Library
This Oscar-nominated film is the story of two men who are opposites -- one gay, the other straight, one a fierce communist, the other a fierce individualist, one suspicious, the other accepting -- and how they come to love each other.

One Book for Kids Events

Reading Fun with Girl Scouts San Diego
Sunday, November 20, 2016 | 1:00 PM | City Heights / Weingart Library
Join KPBS, Girl Scouts San Diego, and San Diego Public Library for storytime and crafts around The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.  The first 50 participants at each workshop will receive a free copy of the book and a special One Book patch.  Find more information and register for the event here.