La Balada de John y Yo

Lennon bookLa Balada de John y Yo is a collection of poems and songs by Carmen Hernandez Pena. Pena is Cuban poet, writer, storyteller, editor, and educator. She was born in 1953 in Ciego de Avila (A city in the central part of cuba) she attended the Universidad De La Habana, where she studied literature.

The book is hand-made from 100% recycled materials.  The cover appears to be constructed from a brown paper shopping bag with various cut-out bits of artwork glued to the front and back – plus some yarn stiching. What may have once been fresh pretty flowers also decorate the front cover. The artwork and sketches sprinkled throughout the book was created by the artist Marialva Rios. Most curious is that such a hand-crafted item has an identifying ISBN number.  It was published by Ediciones Vigia, an independent Cuban publishing house.

The title “La Balada de John y Yo” literally translates to The Ballad of John and I. This book is a compilation of works by Ms. Pena dedicated to and written in memory of The Beatles legend John Lennon. A number of these poems appear in previous books by the author while some appear exclusively in this book. Also included are Beatles songs such as “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” translated into Spanish.

Ediciones Vigia make no more than 200 copies of any book they publish. Each is constructed in the same style, handmade with recycled materials.  The edition is from 2005 and this particular copy  is the 144th book made.  To learn more about the publishing company Ediciones Vigia please visit the following link –

La Balada de John y Yo.  Carmen Hernández Peña. (Ediciones Vigia, Havana, Cuba. 959-240137-3. edition of 200 (ours #144), sewn binding, paper, 09/2005).   Super Intern Manny Portillo provided the this review.  B.George bought it in Havana for $10 in 2016, from a great little bookshop, Librerio Victoria @ 366 Obisbo St, La Habana Vieja.      Full pdf of book below – to navigate touch bottom of image