In a timely story of political upheaval and the heart-wrenching separation of families which results, THE RED UMBRELLA, by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, tells the story of 14-year-old Lucia and her younger brother, who are sent to live with a foster family in Nebraska by their parents at the beginning of Fidel’s Castro’s revolution. The book is based on a true family saga in which Gonzalez’s grandparents were sent to the US as part of “Operation Pedro Pan,” the organized exodus of 14,000 unescorted children from Cuba in 1961. The transition that Lucia is forced to make from a comfortable and loving middle-class Cuban family to a farm girl in the middle of Nebraska will resonate with many young readers. However, a scene in which Lucia sees the body of the local pharmacist who was hung by revolutionaries in the town square, as well as an encounter gone wrong between her and the boy she likes at a dance, make this a book more appropriate for more mature readers.
About her book, Christina writes:
“I wrote THE RED UMBRELLA because I realized that an important event in American history (14,000 kids were sent to the U.S., alone, during a two year period) had not been told and, even though it was part of my own family history, my kids were not fully aware of what had happened. I wanted to change that. The book tells the story of one teenage girl and her experience in Cuba and then in Nebraska, but I hope it reflects the more universal themes of family, separation, and the true meaning of home.”
Read “What’s Your Story, Christina Gonzalez?” HERE.