A tender, illuminating, upbeat valentine to the Operation Pedro Pan rescuers.



A memoir focuses on the two-year exodus of unaccompanied Cuban children to the United States.

Between December 1960 and October 1962, under a rescue program created by the Catholic Welfare Bureau, 14,048 children were evacuated from Fidel Castro’s Cuba. They were sent by their parents to begin new, safer lives in the country up north. Operation Pedro Pan (also known as Operation Peter Pan) ended abruptly with the outbreak of the Cuban missile crisis. Nine-year-old Tony and his 8-year-old sister, Norma, were two of those thousands of children who were airlifted to Miami. The author’s memoir offers a compilation of recollections from his first 13 months in America. In the wee hours of the morning of March 15, 1962, Tony's widowed mother brought him and Norma to the airport terminal in Havana, where the anxious youngsters boarded a Pan American plane to Miami. After they disembarked, they were brought by bus to Florida City, a gated, makeshift refugee camp where they met their temporary foster parents. Six weeks later, the siblings were transferred to Saint Vincent’s Orphanage in Vincennes, Indiana. The majority of the children at Saint Vincent’s were orphaned or abandoned Americans, plus a few Canadians. But the Cubans were different. They were political exiles with hopes of being reunited with their parents in the future. Their most important job was to learn English. The author's writing is inflected with a persistent buoyancy, notwithstanding the frightening depictions of life under Castro. He fills detailed anecdotes of his year at the orphanage with reconstructed conversations that display humor and informatively illustrate the meticulous process of learning a new language and a new culture among the strangers who became his friends. There are poignant, teary moments of melancholy and reminiscences of the father he lost to leukemia when he was just 4, but Tony focuses primarily on the comfort he found in the compassion of the nuns who taught and cared for the children (“They cooked for us and fed us, washed our clothes and dirty linen, nursed us when we were sick, prayed with us, and played with us”). Despite a few too many basketball stories, this book delivers an enjoyable immigration story with a uniquely positive perspective.

A tender, illuminating, upbeat valentine to the Operation Pedro Pan rescuers.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9781646638819

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

Did you like this book?

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Did you like this book?

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.


The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

Did you like this book?