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Cuba in my Pocket

Cuba In My Pocket

To escape military service for children in 1961, twelve-year-old Cumba's parents send him away from Cuba to Miami, where he navigates his new life while longing for his family.
Cuba in my Pocket

Share this Book

Talk with students about what the title of the book Cuba in My Pocket means. Ask students to think about what pockets do—how they hide things we carry and also keep things close to us—and how that relates to Cumba’s experiences and emotional journey.

Then have students think about what the things they often carry in their own pockets (or backpacks or purses) reveal about them. Ask them to make a list of objects in their pockets and then choose up to five items. Have students write a poem about those objects and why they are important, remind them of home or family, or hold specific meaning for them. Display their poems in construction paper “pockets” on a bulletin board.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. What does Cumba usually have in his pocket? Why do you think he keeps it? Do you have an object that you always or often carry with you? What is its meaning to you?
  2. What is Cumba's school experience like in Key Largo? How does it compare to his school experiences in Santa Clara and in Miami? How do Cumba’s experiences in school compare to your own?
  3. Mami tells Cumba that he has “to represent Cuba well.” How does Cumba feel about what Mami expects of him? How is it different from what his teachers in Miami expect from him because he is from Cuba?
  4. Before you read this book, what did you know about Cuba and its history? What questions about Cuba, or life in Cuba, do you still have?

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