To Hope And Back

Sol and Lisa are two children aboard the St. Louis, a ship full of Jewish passangers escaping Europe to save their lives.

The St. Louis, a luxury ocean liner, leaves Germany in 1939, taking its almost one thousand passangers to a safe haven across the ocean.  They will be making a fresh start in countries like Cuba and the United States, away from the Nazi regime that is trying to destroy them.

Lisa and her family have a large cabin in first class, while Sol and his parents are below in tourist class.  They don’t know each other, but they share a mix of feelings: excitement to be crossing the ocean, hope for the future, and sadness at leaving everything they know behind.

Sol and Lisa’s optimism is threatened when the ship is not allowed to dock in Cuba.  What the children don’t know is that their chance for refuge is in jeopardy and a darker future might lie ahead for the jewish passangers on board.

Tia Isa Wants a Car

Tía Isa wants a car. A shiny green car the same color as the ocean, with wings like a swooping bird. A car to take the whole family to the beach. But saving is hard when everything goes into two piles — one for here and one for Helping Money, so that family members who live far away might join them someday. While Tía Isa saves, her niece does odd jobs for neighbors so she can add her earnings to the stack. But even with her help, will they ever have enough?

Flight to Freedom

In Flight to Freedom, Anna Veciana-Suarez brings us Yara, an eighth-grader who lives in a middle-class neighborhood of 1967 Havana, Cuba. Her parents, who do not share the political beliefs of the Communist party, finally are forces to flee Cuba with their children to Miami, Florida. There, Yara records in her diary the difficulties she encounters in a strange land with foreign customs. She must learn English and go to school with new children. Her parents also adjust to the new country differently, and Yara’s father grows frustrated with her mother when she becomes more independent.

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba

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 . . .

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 3, Issue 2