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A Pura Belpré Honor Book for Narrative
A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
When Julian’s parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.
“Inspired by Flores-Galbis’ experiences as a Pedro Pan refugee, the fast-moving story should easily hook both historical-fiction and adventure readers.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“It will introduce readers to a not-so-distant period whose echoes are still felt today and inspire admiration for young people who had to be brave despite frightening and lonely odds.”—Kirkus Reviews
“It’s hard to imagine any child putting this book down.”—School Library Journal
“Drawing on his own experience as a child refugee from Cuba, Flores-Galbis offers a gripping historical novel about children who were evacuated from Cuba to the U.S. during Operation Pedro Pan in 1961 . . . This is a seldom-told refugee story that will move readers with the first-person, present-tense rescue narrative, filled with betrayal, kindness, and waiting for what may never come.”—Booklist
“Flores-Galbis ably portrays the harsh realities these young Cuban immigrants faced: little hope of reunification with family members, dwindling resources, and insufficient government support, while also conveying their resilience in the face of emotional upheaval.”—Publishers Weekly
Enrique Flores-Galbis, at age nine, was one of 14,000 children who left Cuba in 1961, without their parents, in a mass exodus called “Operation Pedro Pan.” He and his two older brothers spent months in a refugee camp in southern Florida; this historical novel is inspired by that experience. The author of Raining Sardines, Enrique lives in Forest Hills, New York, with his family.