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25 Local Warehouse Children's- Poetry
7 Remote Warehouse Children's- Historical Fiction- Holocaust

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba

by

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba Cover

ISBN13: 9780805089363
ISBN10: 0805089365
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Daniel has escaped Nazi Germany with nothing but a desperate dream that he might one day find his parents again. But that golden land called New York has turned away his ship full of refugees, and Daniel finds himself in Cuba.

As the tropical island begins to work its magic on him, the young refugee befriends a local girl with some painful secrets of her own. Yet even in Cuba, the Nazi darkness is never far away . . .

Review:

"Newbery Honor — author Engle (The Surrender Tree) again mines Cuban history for her third novel in verse, this time focusing on Jewish refugees who sought asylum from the Nazis in Havana. Covering the period from 1939 to 1942, first-person poems alternate among 13-year-old Paloma, whose father is a corrupt Cuban bureaucrat; David, a Russian immigrant; and Daniel, whom readers meet aboard a ship in Havana harbor. Daniel, also 13, is alone: 'My parents are musicians — / poor people, not rich./ They had only enough money/ for one ticket to flee Germany.' The boy's isolation anchors the story emotionally. Daniel is befriended by Paloma, who feels guilt over her father's acceptance of bribes for visas, and mentored by David, who warns Daniel that he must tame 'three giants' — the heat, the language and loneliness. Worries about German spies among the refugees suddenly makes the 'J' label on Daniel's passport a coveted symbol, as only non-Jewish Germans are arrested. Engle gracefully packs a lot of information into a spare and elegant narrative that will make this historical moment accessible to a wide range of readers. Ages 12 — up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

MARGARITA ENGLE is a Cuban American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She lives with her husband in northern California.

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blbooks, February 13, 2009 (view all comments by blbooks)
Engle, Margarita. 2009. (March 31, 2009 Pub.) TROPICAL SECRETS: HOLOCAUST REFUGEES IN CUBA. Henry Holt. 198 pages.

Read. This. Book. True, it won't be released for a few more weeks. But make note of it now to get to this one when you get the chance. Written by Margarita Engle--an acclaimed verse novelist--the book is the story of Daniel, a Jewish refugee, and the friends he makes in Cuba--Paloma and David. Daniel had no intentions of going to Cuba. When his parents tearfully sent him away--hoping and praying that at least their son may survive--this was right after the Night of Crystal or Broken Glass; they all thought that his ship would reach American shores--having heard stories of Lady Liberty and America being the place where all were welcome and the land where dreams could come true. But Daniel's ship was turned away from both Canada and the United States. His one chance for survival now depends on Cuba's mercy. The year is 1939. Does Daniel have a prayer of a chance?
This verse novel is told primarily in three voices: Daniel, Paloma, and David. Paloma is the daughter of "El Gordo" a man who is hoping that these refugees will make his wallet fat--very fat. The bigger the bribe, the higher the cost for a visa to enter the country, the richer he becomes. And with the Nazis even sending men to spread propaganda about Jews, the public isn't necessarily on their side--open to the idea of Jews being allowed to enter and settle there. Still, Daniel's ship is allowed. But we're not talking about one ship or even a dozen ships. David is a Jew--a Russian Jew who fled Russia many years before. Paloma helps David--and others--help the refugees providing food and clothing and friendship and support--teaching them Spanish, for example. The book is a novel about meaning things: hope, life, survival, friendship, tolerance. But it doesn't hide the fact that this was a very ugly, very brutal, very cruel time in history.

I don't know about you, but I'd certainly never heard about Cuba in regards to the Holocaust. It's interesting to see how this one island, small in size especially when comparing it to Canada and the United States, was able to provide some shelter to Jews fleeing Hitler. In the author's note she shares, "Despite tragedies and scandals, Cuba accepted 65,000 Jewish refugees from 1938 to 1939, the same number that was taken in by the much larger United States during the same time period. Overall, Cuba accepted more Jewish refugees than any other Latin American nation."

This book is fascinating. It's absorbing. Read. This. Book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805089363
Author:
Engle, Margarita
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Subject:
General
Subject:
Poetry : General
Subject:
People & Places - Central & South America
Subject:
History - Holocaust
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
History
Subject:
Refugees
Subject:
Novels in verse
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Poetry
Subject:
People & Places - Caribbean & Latin America
Subject:
People
Subject:
Places/Caribbean
Subject:
Latin america
Subject:
Children's poetry
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 7 up to 12
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.29 x 5.78 x 0.88 in
Age Level:
from 12 up to 17

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » Holocaust
Children's » History » World History
Children's » Nonfiction » World Cultures
Children's » Nonfiction » World History » General
Children's » People and Cultures
Children's » Poetry » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Poetry
Young Adult » General

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba New Hardcover
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Product details 208 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805089363 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Newbery Honor — author Engle (The Surrender Tree) again mines Cuban history for her third novel in verse, this time focusing on Jewish refugees who sought asylum from the Nazis in Havana. Covering the period from 1939 to 1942, first-person poems alternate among 13-year-old Paloma, whose father is a corrupt Cuban bureaucrat; David, a Russian immigrant; and Daniel, whom readers meet aboard a ship in Havana harbor. Daniel, also 13, is alone: 'My parents are musicians — / poor people, not rich./ They had only enough money/ for one ticket to flee Germany.' The boy's isolation anchors the story emotionally. Daniel is befriended by Paloma, who feels guilt over her father's acceptance of bribes for visas, and mentored by David, who warns Daniel that he must tame 'three giants' — the heat, the language and loneliness. Worries about German spies among the refugees suddenly makes the 'J' label on Daniel's passport a coveted symbol, as only non-Jewish Germans are arrested. Engle gracefully packs a lot of information into a spare and elegant narrative that will make this historical moment accessible to a wide range of readers. Ages 12 — up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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