Letters From Cuba by Ruth Behar

Pura Belpré Award Winner Ruth Behar’s inspiring story of a younger Jewish woman who escapes Poland to make a new lifestyles in Cuba, at the same time as she works to rescue the rest of her familyThe 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 primary one to join him. It’s heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down down the whole thing that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a precious hidden talent–and the bad: the truth that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther’s evocative letters are full of her appreciation for existence and reveal a resourceful, determined lady with a rare capability to bring human beings together, all the even as striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland earlier than it’s too late.Based on Ruth Behar’s family history, this compelling tale celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the most hard times.


Even earlier than Nazi Germany invaded in the fall of 1939, Poland changed into a dangerous area to be Jewish. Determined to earn a residing and lift his own family in safety, Esther’s father fled to Cuba, however after years spent working as a street peddler, he can simplest have enough money to carry over one family member by means of the wintry weather of 1937–38. Esther convinces the own family that she must be the one to move and leaves her mother, grandmother and siblings for an extended and frightening adventure across the ocean. She arrives in Havana’s steamy shipyard clad in a woolen get dressed and stockings and is eventually reunited with Papa; together, they tour to his small village of Agramonte.

Once she has settled in, Esther facilitates her father peddle his wares. Showing fortitude and resilience, she begins to apply her creative abilties to sew dresses to sell with the intention to enhance the cash to bring the relaxation of their circle of relatives to Cuba. Traveling the streets of Agramonte with Papa, Esther readily makes new buddies in her new and unfamiliar usa.

Although Cuba is a safer location for Jewish people than Poland, Havana remains rife with anti-Semitism, embodied in the merciless Señor Eduardo, who seems purpose on bringing Hitler’s hatred to Cuba. Esther’s willpower to learn about the cultural traditions of her new home and to proportion her personal traditions along with her new friends provides a placing and empowering counterpoint. Through difficult work, patience, skills and the kindness of others, Esther and her father bear and in the end thrive, ultimate undaunted in pursuit of their goal of reuniting their family.

Letters From Cuba is told via Esther’s letters to her sister, Malka, in Poland, and creator Ruth Behar creates a compelling narrative voice for Esther. She’s a preteen woman with a mature sensibility born out of the heavy burden she shoulders as she immigrates and raises the price range to reunite her own family. Readers will root for Esther as she matures in her new united states and maintains her dream alive.

Behar shines a mild on the harsh and unjust truth of existence for Jewish humans in Poland all through this time whilst succeeding in filling Esther’s tale with warm temperature and hope. Letters from Cuba’s issues of friendship, own family, faith and openhearted acceptance supply this historic novel undying resonance.


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