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Cuba in My Pocket



by
Adrianna Cuevas

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Macmillan
Imprint
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
ISBN
9780374314675
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Gun Violence , Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Violence: Suicide Reference/Discussion
$20.22   $16.85
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A middle grade historical novel about a twelve-year-old boy who leaves his family in Cuba to immigrate to the U.S. by himself, based on the author's family history.

When the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 solidifies Castro’s power in Cuba, twelve-year-old Cumba’s family makes the difficult decision to send him to Florida alone. Faced with the prospect of living in another country by himself, Cumba tries to remember the sound of his father’s clarinet, the smell of his mother’s lavender perfume.

Life in the United States presents a whole new set of challenges. Lost in a sea of English speakers, Cumba has to navigate a new city, a new school, and new freedom all on his own. With each day, Cumba feels more confident in his new surroundings, but he continues to wonder: Will his family ever be whole again? Or will they remain just out of reach, ninety miles across the sea?

Author’s note. Glossary.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Gun Violence , Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Violence: Suicide Reference/Discussion

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

288

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 2/5"

Dewey

F

AR

4.8: points 8

Lexile

760L

Genre

Fic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Apr 2022

Book Genres

Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Topics

Cuban Americans. Families. History of Cuba, 1959–1990. Immigration. Friendship. Miami, Florida. 

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Twelve-year-old Cumba Fernandez is a normal kid in many aspects. He has a loving family, friends at school, and loves building models so one day he can be an architect. However, life in Santa Clara, Cuba, is far from ordinary in 1961. Fidel Castro, now in power after his successful campaign against dictator Fulgencio Batista, has defeated a group of Cuban refugees who tried to overthrow Fidel during the Bay of Pigs invasion. But as Cumba's grandfather noted "we traded one dictator for another," and life was hard in Cuba. Children were sent to Russia for military training or forced to join the Young Rebel forces. In addition, people were executed; schools' curriculum modified to disseminate communist propaganda; neighbors turned against one another; and churches were closed, with foreign priests expelled. Cumba's parents have only one choice. First-generation Cuban American author Cuevas offers a historical novel inspired by the experience of her father, who as a boy had to leave Cuba alone and start a new life in the United States. The 34-chapter work, written in English with some Spanish terms interlaced in the narrative, is divided into two sections-one depicting Cumba's life in Cuba, and the second, starting in chapter 12, exploring his life in Florida. Of interest to educators, the text contains many English vocabulary words. However, the novel is filled with secondary characters that help to move the story forward but lack meaningful character development. What makes this novel strong is Cuevas's ability to capture the spirit of this Caribbean country, its food, flora, and fauna, and Cubans' cultural traits. The book contains a glossary for terms used throughout. VERDICT A fast-moving novel for middle schoolers who enjoy historical fiction that could work well in a social unit covering child migrants, authoritarian governments, and humanitarianism.-Kathia Ibacache, Univ. of Colorado Boulder

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Twelve-year-old Cumba Fernandez is a normal kid in many aspects. He has a loving family, friends at school, and loves building models so one day he can be an architect. However, life in Santa Clara, Cuba, is far from ordinary in 1961. Fidel Castro, now in power after his successful campaign against dictator Fulgencio Batista, has defeated a group of Cuban refugees who tried to overthrow Fidel during the Bay of Pigs invasion. But as Cumba's grandfather noted "we traded one dictator for another," and life was hard in Cuba. Children were sent to Russia for military training or forced to join the Young Rebel forces. In addition, people were executed; schools' curriculum modified to disseminate communist propaganda; neighbors turned against one another; and churches were closed, with foreign priests expelled. Cumba's parents have only one choice. First-generation Cuban American author Cuevas offers a historical novel inspired by the experience of her father, who as a boy had to leave Cuba alone and start a new life in the United States. The 34-chapter work, written in English with some Spanish terms interlaced in the narrative, is divided into two sections-one depicting Cumba's life in Cuba, and the second, starting in chapter 12, exploring his life in Florida. Of interest to educators, the text contains many English vocabulary words. However, the novel is filled with secondary characters that help to move the story forward but lack meaningful character development. What makes this novel strong is Cuevas's ability to capture the spirit of this Caribbean country, its food, flora, and fauna, and Cubans' cultural traits. The book contains a glossary for terms used throughout. VERDICT A fast-moving novel for middle schoolers who enjoy historical fiction that could work well in a social unit covering child migrants, authoritarian governments, and humanitarianism.-Kathia Ibacache, Univ. of Colorado Boulder

Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
For Grades 5-8

Stories with strong, relatable characters that portray believable contemporary or historical real-life experiences.

14 books per Year
$285.46 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books/Novels,Diversity,Fiction,History,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
14 books per Year
$285.46 per Year

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