The joy of flying kites brings together children and adults. A validation of family traditions and simple pastimes— and of the relationships between people and their natural environment.


I am frequently asked, by children and adults alike, which, among the many books I have written is my favorite. I try to explain that I cherish each of my books, because I have written each one with love and they all have taught me something about myself. But I must confess that my books of memoirs, Where the Flame Trees Bloom or Allá donde florecen los framboyanes and Under the Royal Palms or Bajo las palmas reales, as well as those in the series Cuentos con Alma, have a special significance because with them I have not only tried to capture the days of my childhood but I have honored the multiple people who made my childhood memorable. These books, as well as the memoirs I have written for adult readers, Vivir en dos idiomas have been my way of thanking those who enriched my spirit and taught me so much about trying to honor each day the gift of life.

Some of the greatest joys in my childhood came from very simple activities, as I have shared in the five books of memoirs in the series Cuentos con Alma: The making of paper boats, in Barquitos de papel, the nursery rhyme games, in Pin pin sarabín, flying kites in Barriletes, the annual visit of the humble circus, in Días de circo and the street vendor’s calls in Pregones, all held joy and life lessons.

Flying kites, which in Cuba we called barriletes, was one the most beloved activities in my childhood. My father was a great kite maker and seeing him make the kites was as much a joy as flying them. I can see his careful hands smoothing the paper so that it would not have a single wrinkle, and can smell the “goma arábiga” , the golden pellets he boiled to create the glue.

My attempts, years later, to create kites for my own children inspired the book The Kite or El papalote.


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