Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Summary: 12-year-old Cumba has lived all his life in Cuba, but when the Bay of Pigs invasion fails, he and his family are in danger. Cumba is being recruited to join the Young Rebels and possibly be sent to the Soviet Union for military training. His parents manage to smuggle him out of Cuba to live with a cousin in Miami. There he deals with homesickness, an unfamiliar culture, and the struggle to learn English, but he also meets some new friends who help him to find his way. His 7-year-old brother Pepito keeps him apprised of the harrowing events back home in Cuba through letters. Seven months after Cumba’s arrival, he is thrilled to learn that his family has found a way to join him, and in the final chapter he gathers with his new friends at the airport to welcome his family to the United States. Includes an author’s note about her father, whose early life inspired this book. 288 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: Belpré honoree Adrianna Cuevas may be in line for another award with this engaging story that weaves in a lot of 20th-century Cuban history.
Cons: Pepito’s letters seemed like they were written by someone a few years older than seven.