Friday, December 16, 2011

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

When I was growing up in the Detroit area in the early 1960's there was a young girl at my school who had just moved from Cuba and was very homesick for her country. Back then, I didn't realize that she was one of many Cuban children whose parents arranged for them to go to the United States to avoid being indocrinated by the new revolutionary government. Reading The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez took me back to that time and revealed to me just how difficult it must have been to leave everything you've known in your life to start over in a dramatically different world. Fourteen year old Lucia and her little brother Frankie live in a balmy sea side town in Cuba. She has all the normal interests and concerns of a teenage girl such as the upcoming dance, what to wear and whether her crush will be there. Life begins to change in Cuba, though, with the new government and the arrests and disappearance of friends. Lucia and her brother leave as part of "Operation Pedro Pan" and find themselves living on a farm in Nebraska. This is a book about a difficult time in history but written with warmth and humor, painting a vivid picture of what it is like to come to America as a refugee.

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