Image of a beach and then the Cuban flag to the right

This is Cuba's flag.

What's Up, World? Cuba

Explore life in this nearby island nation.


Performers on a stage in Cuba take a bow. The audience claps, cheers, and stomps their feet. What a show!

Why is the audience so excited? They’re not at a rock concert. They’re cheering for ballet!

Ballet is a kind of dance that started in Europe in the 1400s. From there, it spread all around the world. Many countries fell in love with the graceful dance. Cuba is one of them!

Every other October, Cuba puts on a festival that celebrates ballet. It’s called the International Ballet Festival of Havana. Havana is the capital of Cuba. Ballet groups from around the globe perform there. 

Most dancers at the festival have been trained at special ballet schools in their own countries. But the biggest ballet school in the world is in Cuba. 

What other special things can you find in Cuba? Keep reading to find out!

Look At This! 

Walking down Cuban streets, like this one in Havana, can be like walking through a rainbow. The buildings are often painted different colors.

In this photo, you’ll also see one of the classic cars that can be found around the country.

Let’s Eat! 

Plantains are a favorite food in Cuba. Plantains look like bananas, but people cook them before eating. Many Cubans cut them up and fry them as a yummy snack!


For hundreds of years, Cuba was controlled by Spain, a country in Europe. Then, in 1902, Cuba set up its own government. Every year on October 10, Cubans celebrate Independence Day. On that day in 1868, Cubans began their fight for freedom from Spain. They honor the day with parades. 

Antonio RIBEIRO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Fun and Games

In 1864, baseball arrived in Cuba from the United States. 

Today it’s the country’s national sport. At the Olympic Games, Cuba has won three gold and two silver medals in baseball.

YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images

Creature Feature

Many animals that call Cuba home don’t live anywhere else in the world. About half of all the plants and animals in Cuba can only be found on the island!

Cuban crocodiles are just one example. These reptiles use their powerful tails to jump high into the air.

¡Yo quiero plátanos!

  1. What details in the article show that ballet is popular in Cuba?
  2. What are three facts about Cuba you can learn from the map on page 5?
  3. Based on the article, photos, and captions, what might people do on a visit to Cuba?
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