Title: 90 Miles to Havana
Author: Enrique Flores-Galbis
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Concepts: child schooling and work, allocation and distribution, immigration, economic role of government
Review: Revolutionary fervor in Cuba during the early 1960s contributed to the inception of Operation Pedro Pan, a relief effort in which thousands of concerned parents sent their children to Miami, Florida. These children were placed in foster homes and with friends and relatives, often after a brief stay at a refugee camp, waiting for the possibility of being reunited with their parents at a later date.
This novel, based on the author’s actual experience departing from Cuba as a Pedro Pan exile, presents a fascinating glimpse into the unusual circumstances that led many Cuban parents to make the difficult decision to send their children abroad. Life for Julian, the main character, proved no easier once he and his brothers arrived at the Miami refugee camp. Rampant bullying immediately became an all-encompassing problem that ultimately caused the brothers to become separated and Julian to embark on another adventure in the busy city.
Adding to the substantive content of this appealing book is a set of economics lessons related to the economics of conflict, immigration, and jobs. With a tightly written plot that contains just the right touch of humor and irony, 90 Miles to Havana will entertain its readers as much as it will spark their curiosity about a unique period in U.S.-Cuban relations.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children