Jumping Off to Freedom


Nominated to the American Library Association’s annual list of Recommended Reading for Reluctant Young Readers, Quick Picks 1997. 

by Anilú Bernardo

ISBN: 978-1-55-885-088-0
Publication Date: March 31, 1996
Format: Paperback
Pages: 198
Imprint: Piñata Books
11 and up

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A dangerous journey into the unknown is the only hope for the future of the Leal family in Anilú Bernardo’s new novel for young adults, Jumping Off to Freedom.

The stifling dictatorship in Cuba has left young David Leal and his family no other recourse than to join the thousands of balseros plunging their rafts into the sea in hopes of reaching the Florida coast for relief and the beginnings of a new life.  In order to brave the treacherous voyage, David and his father must leave half of the family behind with promises to send for them after securing jobs and housing in Florida.

In this gripping story for young adults, father and son are pitted against the dangerous forces of nature, storms, sharks, hunger, thirst, and the chaos brought on by two uncontrollable traveling companions.  When David’s father becomes dangerously ill during the journey the young man is left to face the turbulent seas and his chaotic raft mates by himself.  This riveting psychological thriller pitches the reader into a nerve-tautening adventure on the high seas.