When returning home is impossible. When old friends have been left behind. When a new language sounds like popcorn popping.

This is the story of 13-year-old Yara Garcia and her struggles to adapt to a strange land when her family flees Cuba. Set in Miami during the tumultuous 1960s, this is also the story of immigrants everywhere, the story of anyone who's ever been the new kid on the block.


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 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 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 has five adult children who have taught her immeasurable humility.

Website photo 5

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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