Synopses & Reviews
Pura Belpré Award Winner Ruth Behar's inspiring story of a Jewish girl who escapes Poland to make a new life in Cuba, where she works to rescue the rest of her family
The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther's father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It's heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they're reunited. And she does, recording both the good — the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent — and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther's evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it's too late.
Based on Ruth Behar's family history, this compelling story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the most challenging times.
"Inspired by her own grandmother's life, Behar ( Lucky Broken Girl) crafts a series of loving letters from Esther to her sister, describing the perilous journey and Esther's first year in Cuba." Publishers Weekly
"An author's note describes how the story was loosely inspired by the author's own family history. Warmhearted cross-cultural friendship for a refugee on distant shores: both necessary and kind." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“Readers will not want to part with this story of resilience. A World War II refugee tale that spotlights dedicated hard work. A must-have." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
About the Author
Ruth Behar, the Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Lucky Broken Girl, was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. In addition to writing for young people, her work includes poetry, memoir, and the acclaimed travel books An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy, which explore her return journeys to Cuba and her search for home. She was the first Latina to win a MacArthur Genius Grant, and other honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and being named a Great Immigrant by the Carnegie Corporation. She is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.