Ruth Behar has crafted a story that is based on her family’s history, which celebrates resilience and the ability to preserver in even the most difficult situations. Letters from Cuba focuses on a young Jewish girl named Esther who finds herself fleeing Poland for a new life in Cuba as when it becomes evident that things can only get worse for them as World War II gets closer to beginning. This book is something that will show that anything can be overcome, especially with the love of your family.
This is a children’s books designed for Middle Grade readers that felt to me like the Dear America series. Esther tells her story through letters, which is similar to the diary-like writing style that I loved as a young reader when I delved into the lives of girls in the Dear America books. That connection I created in my mind made me very excited to check out this book. While yes, I am much too old to be a Middle Grade reader at this point in my life, but I do still love knowing what exists and seeing how this particular category of books has evolved since I was that age.
We learn that Esther’s father has been in Cuba for three years and when he does send for his family she is the first one to go. After some initial letters to her father, the story changes to focus on letters from Esther to her sister, who is still in Poland. Esther has the ability to bring people together and her writing also shows a desire to connect with those she loves, even when she is not able to be near them. This is a perfect story to teach young readers about what it was like to be someone Jewish during the time period around World War II throughout the world. You can get your copy of Letters from Cuba today.