Being thirteen is hard enough without having to leave everything behind.

Yara Garcia's family is forced to flee Cuba when Communist ruler Fidel Castro clamps down on personal freedoms. In Miami, she must make new friends, learn a new language, and adapt to a new school. Her parents and grandparents struggle to make a life in exile, too, and successes are few and far between.

Set in the late 1960s, Flight to Freedom provides a mesmerizing look at how one girl and her family learn to make a home far from all they know. It is the story of resilience in the face of change, the tale of hope in desperate times.

'Veciana-Suarez beautifully articulates the pain of exile for young readers while introducing a turbulent era in America.' - School Library Journal

'The dignity of the Garcia family shines through as they attempt to make their way in their new society.' - Kirkus Review

'The story and characters ring true in their portrayal of loss, longing, and the hope of starting a new life.'- Booklist


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Ana Veciana-Suarez is a syndicated columnist for the Tribune Content Agency and author of several books, including the young adult novel, Flight to Freedom. She also has written a collection of essays, Birthday Parties in Heaven: Thoughts on Life, Love, Grief, and Other Matters of the Heart. A previous book, The Chin Kiss King, was nominated for the prestigious IMPAC Award, an international competition in Dublin. In 2019 she won a Cintas Fellowship for Creative Writing for her novel-in-progress. 


Two of her nonfiction books about the Hispanic media were published by the The Media Institute, a think tank in Washington D.C. Her commentary has been included in several anthologies, and it also has appeared in Reader's Digest, O Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Washington Post Magazine, Parenting, and Latina.


A summa cum laude graduate of the University of South Florida, she has worked at The Miami Herald, The Miami News and The Palm Beach Post as education reporter, features writer, projects writer, and editor.

As a journalist, Ana has received several awards for her commentary and feature writing. In addition to the Cintas, she  has received a $5,000 Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the state of Florida for fiction writing.

Ana immigrated to Miami at the age of six and lives there with her husband, David Freundlich. She likes to say that her adult children have taught her immeasurable humility.

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Flight to Freedom

Birthday Parties in Heaven

The Chin Kiss King





"Veciana-Suarez is a sensitive writer with an ear for the intonations of bilingual speech and an eye for bicultural nuance."

 Chin Kiss King - "Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I read this nearly 20 years ago and still remember it. A book about life, love, pain, mothers, women and letting go. Tissues necessary. And a highlighter for the chapter on Cuca’s 8 life lessons. I loved her scenes the most..."

Flight to Freedom - "Yara’s depiction of her and her family’s plight in Cuba and their gradual coming to terms with and adjustment to a very different language and lifestyle in America is credible, absorbing, and uplifting."

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