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Flight to Freedom (First Person Fiction) Hardcover – October 1, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-It is 1967, and Yara Garcia, 13, receives a blank diary from her father with the inscription, "For my studious daughter." He is leaving Havana for the countryside, where he is forced to work in the fields harvesting coffee since he has applied to emigrate to the U.S. The story unfolds via her entries. As the family waits for permission to leave, readers are told about the rationing of food, neighbors spying on neighbors to report disloyalties to Castro, and the humiliation of being labeled a "gusana"-a worm-a Cuban exile. Arrival in Miami is fraught with a new set of difficulties as language and cultural differences make adjustment painful. Yara's father is convinced that their stay in Florida will be temporary and short, to be endured until such time that they can return to their beloved homeland. In an afterword, Veciana-Suarez describes her firsthand experiences living in exile. Similar to titles in the "Dear America" series (Scholastic), this informative novel incorporates historical facts. The story and characters ring true in their portrayal of loss, longing, and the hope of starting a new life.
Elizabeth Fernandez, Brunswick Middle School, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. Set during the turbulent late '60s, Veciana-Suarez's first novel for young people is a diary account of 13-year-old Yara's flight from Cuba and of her new life in Miami with her family. Yara hates the communist youth work camps in Havana, the rations, and the prejudice against her anti-Castro family. But life in Miami brings worries, too: her brother left behind in Cuba; her father's involvement in a mysterious political group; a new language and school; and always, family tension. Yet Yara still finds excitement and joy--in her crushes on boys, academic triumphs, her mastery of English, and some new friendships. If not always well integrated into the story, the facts of Cuban American history and culture are clear, and Veciana-Suarez beautifully articulates the pain of exile for young readers while introducing a turbulent era in America. The author's personal afterword provides more history. Another fine entry in the new First Person Fiction series about coming to America. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 15 years
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Series: First Person Fiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; 1 edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439381991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439381994
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Veciana-Suarez's book "Flight to Freedom" realistically explores the plight of an immigrant family from communist Cuba to the United States. This fictitious novel, although set in the past, is based on historical events, thus validating the experiences of those persons written about. These experiences and struggles are typical of immigrants moving into the US from foreign countries. In this book the reader is taken along side a Cuban girl named Yara, exploring together the ravaging effects of political persecution (which forces her family into exile), the unmerciful prejudice of Americans, the misunderstanding of cultural roles based on societal norms, and newfound freedoms never known before. This book raises compelling questions pertaining to the life of immigrants, and how events in history have formed their past and future.
Yara begins the journal of her life while living in Havana, Cuba. The author appeals to the reader by revealing this documentation in writing the book in journal style, starting it on April 2, 1967 continuing through July 4, 1968. At this time in history she explains that Castro controlled the Cuban people with an iron fist, requiring young boys to enroll in the military and young girls to do backbreaking work in the agricultural fields. As a result of such tyranny, many counterrevolutionary families, similar to Yara's, exiled themselves from this government, fleeing to the United States where revolts against Cuba were were being developed.
The reader, depending on their background, will find the conflicting culture shock startling or reminiscent. After moving to the United States, Yara's family was not prepared for a culture so different from their own. First of all, school settings are not usually pleasant for an immigrant, which was affirmed in Yara's experience.
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A Kid's Review on March 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Flight to Freedom is a moving story about a young Cuban immigrant who moves to the United States without knowing any English. Her family had left Cuba because of their unjust communist leader, Fidel Castro, and had not been able to come as a whole family because their older brother had been forced to join the Cuban army. In her diary, Yara records all her joys and woes and it ends up being a great book.
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A Kid's Review on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I think the book "Flight to Freedom" by Ana Veciana-Suarez is very interesting because the whole book is a diary of a Cuban girl who has to adapt to a new culture.

The book opens in Cuba with Yara, a 13-year-old girl, in a strict boarding school. She has to work so hard in the fields that she gets callouses on her hands. She is a Christian, but she is not allowed to have a Bible. When she comes home from the school to her family, she finds out that part of the family has to move to Miami because of Cuban President Fidel Castro. Her brother has to stay behind because he was forced to join the Cuban army. Yara is devastated because she has to leave her home and her friends to go a strange country that she has never been to before. She doesn't know if she can ever return to Cuba.

Once in Miami, Yara must learn how Americans live and she must learn their language too. She makes one friend in Miami and she's starting to learn how Americans dress. She gets to go to her friend's sleepover and she wants to go with her on a road trip during vacation.

Does Yara get to go? What happens in the end? Will Yara move back to Cuba? Try reading this book and find out what happens! This book is a real page turner. I also like this book because it is so descriptive and detailed.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a scene during math class at school in Miami. Yara tells the teacher how she learned to do subtraction a different way in Cuba. Her teacher shares the new method with the whole class, and this makes Yara feel accepted. But she still tries to do things the American way.

I would recommend "Flight to Freedom" for ages 10 and up because the book is complex and it has some Spanish phrases.
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A Kid's Review on May 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book about a girl named Yara Garcia who has to adjust to a new life when her and her family flee to Florida. She is faced with a new language, new costums, and new people. Can Yara and her family adjust to a new life?

I liked this book because what Yara and her family face are similar to some of the things teenagers today face. I can relate to making new friends , leaving some friends , and meeting new people. Also, because this book is in diary form, it is very enjoyable to read as if you really knew Yara.The adventures that Yara goes through are so interesting and nerve-racking that the ending of the book is so unpredictable. I also liked the book because having Yara live in Cuba , the book tells so many details and descriptions of Cuba and how Cuba's government is organized.

I would definately recommend this book. I would recommend it to mainly teenagers because they can usually relate to the problems that Yara goes through. Also people that are interested in the cultures, language, and government of Cuba should also read this book to find out what Fidel castro (Communist ruler) did to make Yara Garcia and her family flee to Florida. Also anyone that likes the Dear America series should really enjoy reading this book.

My favorite character is definately Yara Garcia because I can relate to her the most of any other character in this book. What Yara goes through are very similar to what any person of her age could go through. She originally lived in Cuba , had a great life, had a lot of friends, and was very happy. She then moves to Florida where she has to pretty much start a new life. She also keeps the journal so everything that goes on she tells from her point of view.

This is a good book in which a family flees their home and has a good and bad Flight To Freedom. Does Yara and her family arrive safely from Cuba? Can Yara adjust to a new life? Read Flight to Freedom to find out.
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