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Elián González: Background information when reading Say Hello to My Little Friend

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Say Hello to My Little Friend

A Novel

by Jennine Capó Crucet

Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet X
Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet
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  • Published:
    Mar 2024, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book

Elián González

This article relates to Say Hello to My Little Friend

Map showing Elián González's journey from Cuba to Fort Lauderdale In Say Hello to My Little Friend, main character Izzy Reyes traveled by raft from Cuba to the United States in 2003 at age seven with his mother, who drowned during the trip. It is mentioned in the novel that his Tia Teresa exploits the sympathy of teachers who note the similarity of the circumstances between Izzy's journey and that of Elián González, a Cuban child who traveled to the US with his mother and her boyfriend in November of 1999.

At the time of the journey González was five years old. He and his caretakers, along with several others, navigated through the Florida Straits on what would be a 90-mile trip. Their raft capsized, killing everyone aboard except for Elián, who was discovered floating on an inner tube and rescued by fishermen. Immigration officials granted him refugee status and allowed the boy's great aunt and uncle to take custody; they planned to keep him in the States. Instead, he became the object of an international tug-of-war.


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