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The Red Umbrella

by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
284 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-86190-1

Ages 12 and older

Fourteen-year-old Luciaís parents arenít happy with recent changes in Cuba under Fidel Castro, but they stay silent, hopeful that things will calm down. As more and more people around them join the revolutionary causeósome out of genuine fervor, others out of fearóLuciaís family gains attention for their obvious lack of revolutionary enthusiasm. When Luciaís parents decide to send her and her little brother to the United States as part of the Pedro Pan airlift in 1961, Lucia and Frankie are told it will be only for a few weeks, just until things get better in Cuba. But things donít get better, and Lucia and Frankie end up living with an older couple in Grande Isle, Nebraska. The Baxters donít know much about Cuba or about contemporary teenage life. But they prove to be caring, loving foster parents, helping Lucia and Frankie adapt to life in America even as the children hunger for news of and from their parents. This swiftly moving debut novel, told in Luciaís authentically teen-like voice, is based on the experiences of the authorís parents. The terrific storytelling is rooted in details of family life and friendship that cover expansive emotional territory.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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