The Cuban Castaway is the story of Jorge Esquival, a young boy who survives a shipwreck during which he witnesses the drowning of his mother and nine other Cuban immigrants who are trying to enter the United States illegally. The Cuban Castaway is a young adult novel about family, Cuban culture and immigration. More
The Cuban Castaway is a middle grade novel that follows the extraordinary experience of ten-year-old Jorge Esquivel. The story begins when he’s torn away from his home in Havana in the middle of the night and survives a shipwreck where he witnesses the drowning of his mother. Barely clinging to life, he fights off a shark attack and later endures an epic custody battle between the U.S. and Cuba. The theme of The Cuban Castaway is Jorge’s love for his mother. Jorge is discovered floating in an abandoned boat by two fishermen; Ernesto and Camilo. The two fishermen unite him with his mother’s family in Miami. Once in Miami, Jorge is in awe of the American lifestyle but he has difficulty overcoming the trauma of seeing his mother drown and his ordeal at sea. The youngster is forced to decide between either his father, who wants him home in Cuba, or his dead mother, who wanted opportunity for him in America. Outside his relative’s house in Miami, crowds of Cuban exiles chant his name, confusing Jorge. He feels like a prisoner in his aunt and uncle’s house. The exile community calls Jorge “El Nino Milagro.” (The Miracle Child) The ever-enduring Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro gets involved in Jorge’s custody battle. Castro takes an interest in the boy and his family and makes Jorge Cuba’s favorite son. In a dramatic intervention by the U.S. government, Jorge is whisked from his home in the middle of the night and returned to his father in Cuba.