The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez

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The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.


In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.


As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.


Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?


The Red Umbrella is a moving story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Christina Gonzalez

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Christina Diaz Gonzalez based this powerful novel on the experiences of her parents, and of the more than 14,000 other unaccompanied minors who came to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan. This mass exodus of children is a little-known and fascinating piece of history, and Gonzalez has created a story that brings that history vibrantly to life. Gonzalez practiced law for several years before returning to her childhood passion for stories and writing. The Red Umbrella is her first novel. Christina Diaz Gonzalez lives in Miami, Florida, with her husband and two sons. You can visit her on the Web at
Published April 25, 2010 by Knopf Books for Young Readers. 290 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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While Lucía’s best friend, Ivette, and her secret sweetheart, Manuel, embrace the revolution and become, with their parents’ support, “brigadistas,” Lucía’s parents, a banker and a housewife, refuse to accept the changes imposed by the new government and make the heartbreaking and, for the times,...

Apr 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Red Umbrella

Christian Science Monitor

Inspired by stories she heard from her grandparents, Christina Diaz Gonzalez tells the story of a teen’s secret evacuation from Cuba in Operation Pedro Pan.

Aug 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Red Umbrella

Shelf Awareness

Publishers send authors out to book signings, interviews, and speaking engagements in the hopes of bringing together like-minded book fans to ignite discussion and spark a hopefully-lively word-of-mouth campaign.

Mar 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Red Umbrella

Book Trends

This book is going to be boring!” But, you can’t judge a book by its cover and that was so true when it came to this book.

Aug 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Red Umbrella

Teen Voices

Tagged as: book reviews, books about girls, books about teen girls, books for teens, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Communist Revolution, Cuba, female leaders, female protagonists, Jaye Wong, powerful women, Relationships, social change, teen fiction, teen reviews, The Red Umbrella

Dec 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Red Umbrella

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