By IRINA ECHARRY, photos by CARIDAD
HAVANA TIMES, February 21 – Ever since the Cuba International Book Fair has had its main Havana venue at the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress it’s become a true children’s pleaser.
Besides not having to think about spending money or carrying the bags when their parents buy several books, they find an agreeable space to run, play and laugh.
When a family goes to the Book Fair the littlest children are assured a good day without restrictions or scolding. For that reason you see them happy, playing between the canons that once were used for war, or running after each other without considering the sun or the tiredness of their parents.
They sit on the grass and open a book or draw as if time stood still, as if nothing was more important. And in reality, nothing is.
The fair has three special venues for children: the main one at the grounds of the fort, and the Pabellon Cuba expo center and the Havana Amphitheater both in the city. At all three, children’s literature is sold in the normal Cuban currency (Moneda Nacional) and there are cultural activities for kids. Adventure books, poetry, African legends, love stories, those of inseparable friends or grandmothers that tell anecdotes.
There are also other sales points in CUC (the other Cuban currency that people don’t receive as their salaries) that make parents suffer since the books are more attractive, full of colors, and of course their children want them.
Oh I almost forgot the food booths and waiting in the lines for a good ice cream or a soda to cool off a bit.
The fort provides a great view of the capital and the children have a good time. They dance, some fly kites, others get together to talk and laugh, or just sit down to enjoy a sweet.
It doesn’t matter what the time is because at this busy city of books the children are the owners of time.
Click on the thumbnails to see all the photos in the International Book Fair 2009 gallery