Letters from Alain
by Enrique Perez Diaz
Translated by Simon Breden
Illustrated by Francisco Sol
- The moving tale of a child coming to terms with the realities of emigration in a troubled society.
- Award-winning Cuban-born writer Enrique Perez Diaz creates a contemporary novel for teenage readers steeped in the burning issues of today’s world.
- Shortlisted for the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.
Arturo, a 12-year-old boy lives on the island of Cuba. One day, his best friend Alain goes away with his family on a small boat, in search of a better life in America. But the sea can be a perilous place…
When Alain’s dog returns mysteriously, the adults fear the worst. But Arturo begins to receive strange letters from his friend. What do they mean? And will his friend ever return?
“… not a story of economic migrants but rather the loss and sadness felt by the family and friends that are left behind… sensitively handled.” The School Librarian
“…this evocative and thought-provoking story is to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.” CubaSi
“I became interested in Cuba after studying Cuban history… about the wet foot, dry feet policy during this and also about those people who tried to escape from Cuba in search of a better life in Florida and beyond. I really wanted to know more about these extraordinary flights for freedom but there seemed to be little in the way of accessible information… I’m sure many of you who know about Cuba’s history have guessed that this children’s story isn’t really a happy one. It’s hard to read because it’s rooted in deep and troubling truth. Many have lost their lives in the pursuit of a better life and the acknowledgement and realisation of this makes for hard reading… It’s a simple story but one encompassing true emotion and the hope of youth. Enrique Perez Diaz has not shied away from heartbreaking content, however, the book is not overly explicit about Alain’s fate. This really gives the reader the opportunity to dwell on the themes of hope and friendship but grief and loss too… The voyages of the Boat People are absolutely fascinating but incredibly sad too. I am pleased that this book has been translated into English because I think it will hopefully show many children and adults too that there is another side to this immigration.” May, Goodreads
About the author
Enrique Pérez Díaz born in 1958 in Havana, Cuba. He has been a journalist for more than 30 years in radio, television, newspapers, agencies and cultural magazines. Narrator, critic, editor and researcher of children’s literature. Enrique studies and promotes children’s literature in Cuba as President of the Cuban Children’s Writers’ Association and Vice-President of Cuba’s section of IBBY. He is the winner of many awards for his short stories and novels for children: The Golden Age, New Pines, Ismaelillo, finalist in EDEBE and awarded with the ‘White Rose’ of the UNEAC Children’s Literature section.