Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. She is the author of Lucky Broken Girl, and in addition to writing for young people, her work includes poetry, memoir, and the travel books An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy. She was the first Latina to win a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Behar is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The 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 first one to join him. Letters from Cuba (Nancy Paulsen Books) follows Esther as she promises her beloved sister, left behind, to write down everything that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent– and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Her letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it’s too late. The New York Times Book Review celebrated it as “a quiet story of determination, and an openly loving tribute to the author’s grandmother, who made the real journey that inspired Esther’s fictional one.