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The Red Umbrella

The Red Umbrella


The Red Umbrella

valutazioni:
4/5 (24 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
7 ore
Pubblicato:
Nov 10, 2016
ISBN:
9781942907329
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

The Red Umbrella is a 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 escapeFidel 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. And soon, 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 touching story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.
Pubblicato:
Nov 10, 2016
ISBN:
9781942907329
Formato:
Audiolibro


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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Beautiful story. It was a little annoying that some words were mispronounced in Spanish, but overall, it was well read as well.
  • (5/5)
    Great story with a fantastic narrator. I never read or studied much about Castro coming into power in Cuba; this book prompted me to research, question and talk to my peers about what they knew. Told from the perspective of a teenage girl, a powerful topic is approachable. You won’t be disappointed!
  • (4/5)
    4.5****

    Lucia Alvarez is at the beach with her little brother, Frankie, when she notices a loud rumble. She’s surprised to see a parade of large trucks, loaded with soldiers. Their small town of Puerto Mujares, Cuba has never seen such a military movement. But it is 1961 and the Revolution is changing everything in Cuba. Before long she’ll no longer be anticipating her quinceanera party, but wondering how her best friend could have turned on her, and worrying how she and her family will get through this. When her parents make the difficult decision to send Lucia and seven-year-old Frankie to the United States, Lucia must grow up quickly and take on the responsibility of keeping herself and her brother safe.

    This children’s novel is a very good work of historical fiction. Lucia narration shows her growth from an innocent young girl, to a responsible young lady. The reader sees how she chafes against what she sees as her parent’s unnecessary restrictions, and lets her own teen-aged desires begin to lead her away from them. The effects of peer pressure are all too evident, as are the dangers of misplaced trust and fascination with adventure. But Gonzalez gives us a heroine who is able to think and decide on her own what path to follow. Lucia is intelligent, sensitive, kind and courageous. While she embraces the new life in America, she continues to recall the life lessons imparted by her mother and father. Chiefly she remembers her mother’s large red umbrella, which becomes a symbol for strength of family.

    There’s a fair amount of Spanish used, but context will explain almost all of those words and phrases, and the book includes a glossary with translations. I think some of the situations – parents held at gunpoint, a hanging – are pretty heavy, but would definitely recommend it for middle-school readers.
  • (4/5)
    Lucia Alvarez finds her life altered in 1961. First crushes, swimming at the nearby beach, freedom to come and go to her friend's homes – Lucia doesn't understand why her life has to change. People are watched, arrested, detained, missing. Soldiers patrol the streets. So many frightening events. Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez are worried about their two children, Lucia, fourteen and a half, and Frankie, seven-years-old. Fearing the indoctrination (or worse) that may soon befall their children, they make the heart-wrenching decision to send them … alone … to the United States, while they still can. Arriving in Miami, they spend some time at a Catholic charity camp for these displaced children. Each child is placed with foster parents through the Catholic network, and relocated among 30 states. Lucia and Frankie find out that they will be living in Nebraska with Mr. and Mrs. Baxter. They like their foster parents, but were disappointed to find that Grand Island was nothing like their own island. They miss their parents, and their old life, but gradually become acclimated to their new situation. It wasn't the life we used to have, but that life didn't exist in Cuba, either.Ms. Gonzalez has written a moving story about one family affected by Castro's regime and their choice of Operation Pedro Pan to save their children.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book. The main reason why I liked this book was because it wasn't a typical childrens book about fairies and talking animals. Instead, this story had very significant information in it. This book was about a teenage girl living in Cuba in 1961. Most people would not know what occurred in this year. During this year, Fidel Castro's revolution began. Truthfully, before reading this book I had not known a lot about this revolution, and this book was one that I could enjoy reading, and still retain some historical information. The second reason why I liked this book was because the teenage girl was one that I, as well as many other girls, could relate to. Before the revolution, she was a girly-girl who loved fashion, makeup, and especially boys. What girl can't relate to that? She then goes through a complete change where she loses everything and has to almost fight for her life. Lastly, I liked this book because it included some Spanish words in it. I think that the spanish in the book gives it a little more value and makes it more special because Lucia and her family are Cuban, and speak Spanish. When Lucia and her brother arrive in America, they can't understand what anyone is saying. The big idea of this book is to share Lucia and her families survival and search for freedom during Castro's revolution.
  • (4/5)
    14-year-old Lucia Alvarez’s life is turned upside down when Fidel Castro takes power in Cuba in 1960. Suddenly her best friend is a propaganda-spewing stranger, soldiers brutally kill her father’s business acquaintances, and her parents are being closely watched. Lucia just wants to be an average teenage girl, hanging out with her friends, keeping up with the latest American fashions, and maybe even getting closer to her crush, but that can no longer be.Then Lucia and her younger brother, Frankie, receive visas to go live with a temporary foster family in Nebraska. The culture shock is great and frightening; can Lucia manage a new language and culture, growing into a young lady in the meantime, when the fate of her parents and her beloved Cuba are so uncertain?I have never read a novel like Christina Gonzalez’s debut, THE RED UMBRELLA. This is a necessary story about an aspect of Cuban American history that has not received enough attention in YA literature—and best of all, it’s extremely well written and engaging!Gonzalez writes convincingly of all her characters. Lucia is partly your average teenager, desiring friendship, love, acceptance, and pretty things. Her parents are a believable blend of loving, strict, and worried, and Frankie is a cute and appropriately occasionally annoying younger brother. The way the story follows Lucia through this difficult time in her life, however, is a miraculous achievement: my heart ached as I read about the difficulties she faced, and I saw a distinct, yet subtle, growth in her as she realizes the extent to which Castro’s takeover would affect her life. The pacing and plot were a little uneven, though, and thus not as fulfilling as it could’ve been. The first two-thirds of the book takes place within a few fast and furious months in Cuba, as the revolution starts taking over Cubans’ lives. This part of the book is great, as we see Lucia and her family struggling to remain true to themselves in the face of so much propaganda and pressure. However, when Lucia and Frankie spend time with the elderly white couple in Nebraska while they await news of their parents, time sees to stop and go in choppy bits, covering more than half a year in just a few dozen pages. As a result, I felt that Lucia’s adjustment to American life and subsequent maturation were rushed, and that the characters in this section of the book were underdeveloped.Pacing aside, this was a fantastic read, great for everyone. The Alvarezes are a family to cheer for throughout the whole story. Never before have I seen this aspect of Cuban American history discussed in such an approachable and sympathetic manner. I am thankful for this book, hope others will strongly consider reading it when it comes out, and definitely look forward to anything Christina has next for us!
  • (4/5)
    When Castro becomes leader of Cuba, things begin to change. Lucia's solidly middle class life changes, and her family is not on board. Lucia and her little brother are sent to the United States to live with a foster family, and her parents hope to be allowed to follow.
  • (3/5)
    The book started well, slowed in the middle, and ended strong. I loved the premise of the book - Cuba during the 1960s. It was a great twist on historical fiction and a great choice for the 2013 Golden Sower Award. I do think the middle of the book could have been more interesting, but I'll still be recommending it to students.
  • (5/5)
    This was great!!! It was a wonderful look at the early days of Castro's revolution and Cuban and American relations in 1961. The story is told from a 14 year old girl's point of view, Lucia.Lucia has normal 14 year old growing pains. She likes boys, wants to wear make up, is irritated by her younger brother, Frankie, but instead of having a normal teenager's life, Cuba, her country and home, goes into turmoil. When Castro and his revolutionary followers take over the government, not only is there soldiers everywhere, but also people being branded as traitors to the revolution. Unfortuneately, because her parents believe it's ok to have a different opinion from Castro, Lucia's family is branded as traitors. To save her, Lucia's parents send both her and her brother to the United States. Lucia and Frankie go to live with a foster family in Nebraska until her parents can join them or the revolution ends. Lucia must learn a new language, eat new foods, and make new friends. She adjusts rather well, but all the time she worries about her mother and father back in Cuba and wonders if she will ever see them again because the revolution doesn't seem to be ending and American/Cuban relations are getting very tense...The first half of the book takes place in Cuba and offers an amazing look into life in Cuba during Castro's early days and the fear or fanaticism some people felt. The second half of the book is about Lucia adjusting to American life and presents an idea of what it was like to be a Latina immigrant in 1961. Superb. The ending brought tears to my eyes. I really connected to Lucia. This is a book I will read again.
  • (3/5)
    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. The writing was great, Lucia's voice rang true to her age. I could really see her growing up as she and her brother had to be brave on their own in a strange new country. Great historical fiction.
  • (5/5)
    This is the story of Lucía - she's 14 years old when her seaside town begins to feel the changes that a young man named Fidel Castro with a vision of a revolution have on her country. When the revolution first started, life didn't change much for Lucía - she still read the gossip magazines with her BFF Ivette - whiling their days away worrying about nail polish colors and whether a cute boy was interested in them or not - or she'd spend her afternoons lazing around the beach with her younger brother Frankie. But she starts noticing changes - for one her parents are acting tense, having private heated discussions, soon a neighbor then her father's co-worker goes missing and most of her young friends begin joining revolutionary groups. Before things get completely out of control her parents decide that she and Frankie must leave their country and live with a foster family in the U.S.Imagine leaving everything and everyone you've known your whole life and coming to a strange country where you not only can't speak the language but have to rely on strangers to take you in, feed you, clothe you, support you. This is Lucía's story.This story really touched my heart. My mother was Lucía's same age when she left Cuba - thanks to my grandparents' quick thinking - they decided not to wait it out to see what would happen to their precious Cuba after Castro's revolution and instead got on the first plane that would get them out of there. They were the only one's in their family to do that - meaning they left parents, siblings, cousins, etc. behind. And for many years after that they were not able to visit, communications were difficult (telephone calls were monitored or timed to a few short minutes) and mailing a letter was a joke (75% of the time it just didn't get there). So, in a way, Lucía's story is one that I definitely relate to. Ms. Diaz Gonzalez's writing was so vivid you could almost see the vibrant colors, smell the food and tropical breeze. As happy as you feel because of her vivid descriptions of Cuban life, you also get a chill when you realize how dire Lucía and her family's situation really is. You can't trust anyone - not your friends, nor neighbors, not even family members. Her parents are left with no recourse but to send her and Frankie away. I loved how each chapter started with a snippet from U.S. newspapers and their take on Cuba, Castro and the revolution. It really gave you a true sense of what was going on when you read the newspaper clipping and then delved into Lucía's current situation. Ms. Gonzalez-Diaz based this story on the experiences of her parents and other Cuban children who came to the U.S. in the program known as Operation Pedro Pan. This tale is one that still affects the lives of Cubans and Cuban exiles today. Living in Miami, you still hear the stories and there are still many who have not been able to reunite with the families they left behind (my family included). This is a tribute to the courage these children showed and to those parents that were able to let go of them in a time of great uncertainty and upheaval. I think this is a part of Cuban American history that is not covered enough - especially not in YA. A very good read for young and old alike. I can't recommend this enough.
  • (3/5)
    I was excited about this one, especially after really enjoying The Firefly Letters, but it never grabbed me – this was particularly true of the later parts of the story that take place in Nebraska. I liked Lucia’s growth arc, but I didn’t quite believe it. Great story that didn’t have the depth I wanted from it.
  • (5/5)
    This is an excellent book about a 14 year old girl who has her life completely changed. She was planning her quincera and everything changes when the soldiers come to her home town and watch her family. At first she is rebellious like any other child would be when there life is changed in one day, but she soon learns that her parents are only looking out for her own safety. This is a great book, it has a combination of some Spanish words, but is written in englsih. I appreciate the spanish because it gives the story a little more true value to it.
  • (4/5)
    Lucia Alvarez is your typical teenage girl. She loves fashion, is excited to start wearing makeup, dreams over her crush. But she is not a modern teen in America—she lives in Cuba in 1961, the beginning of Castro's revolution. She notices things in her safe community of Puerto Mijares start to change: people are disappearing, losing jobs, and joining brigades supporting the revolution. Even her best friend starts to support it and forget about the things that once meant something to her.

    At first Lucia thinks this is all for the best, a good thing. The revolution will make life better and more equal for everyone, or so she is told. But when she begins to see trusted members of her community being taken away and her own home life is drastically changed, she's not so sure. Finally her parents make an incredibly difficult decision: to send her and her little brother, Frankie, to the United States. Alone.

    Christina Diaz Gonzalez tells the story of a young teen who goes through complete upheaval, taken away from everything she knows, including her language and family, and is plopped down in a completely foreign environment. What makes this story so incredible is that it's not an isolated incident. In an author's note, Gonzalez tells us about what later became known as Operation Pedro Pan, the largest exodus of unaccompanied children into the United States ever. I had never heard of this before I had the good fortune of hearing Gonzalez speak at the Boston Book Festival back in October and was immediately intrigued.

    The story is one of heartache and change, of coming of age in a land not your own and being forced to grow up a little sooner than expected. Lucia witnesses horrific things in the place she's lived her whole life, and not too long after finds out she is leaving her homeland the day before her plane is due to leave—everything happens so quickly that she has trouble processing it all.

    The story is told in such a way that it is hard to set it down for a break. I always wanted to find out what was going to happen to Lucia and Frankie; how they were going to adjust to everything, whether or not they would ever be reunited with their parents, what was happening to their friends and family in Cuba.

    Lucia is easy to relate to for girls, as she deals with typical teenage problems like wardrobe choices, high school friends and enemies, and changing relationships. Her voice is authentic and easy to listen to (and by listen to I mean read).

    I loved all of the adults in the book, too. Her parents are parents—they worry about their children and wants what's best for them. Lucia's mother nags her to do what's right, even on a long-distance phone call from Cuba (don't wear makeup, don't date, dress appropriately, don't act like those American teenagers in the movies!). Her father always tries to make the best of things and bring humor into their lives when others might see none. And their foster parents are fantastic, too. Mrs. Baxter is a motormouth and a very motherly woman, who isn't quite sure about Cuban culture, mixing it up with Mexican on one occasion, but who will do her very best to help the Alvarez children and love them like her own. Mr. Baxter is much more quiet and sparing with his affection; Lucia doesn't believe he even likes the two of them, despite Mrs. Baxter's affirmation of the contrary. Eventually we see his hard exterior break down bit by bit. I cared about all of them, and for me that is one of the most crucial things in reading a book.

    The only thing I would say is that it might help to know a bit about the history of all this before beginning the story. The author's note is essential for those who know nothing, and I might even suggest reading it before the rest of the book. I was lucky enough to know about it beforehand and I think it aided in my reading of the book. That said, each chapter begins with a real headline from a newspaper in the United States about the Cuban revolution and Castro's rise to power, providing valuable background and insight for the reader. The headlines progress along with the story chronologically.

    A fantastic introduction for a little-addressed yet important part of American and Cuban history, this story provides historical knowledge in the form of a page-turning novel from the perspective of a young teen trying to make sense of what her world has become.

    Also, I just want to say how much I love this cover art. The images of the two places with the umbrella in the middle and the map in the background? Fantastic.
  • (4/5)
    Received this book from audio sync June 18, 2017. It is the story of Cuba during the Fidel Castro revolution when children were sent out of Cuba to live in the US. This is the story of a 14 y/o girl and her brother who end up in Grand Island, Nebraska with a good family and experience of being a refugee and to never know if you will see your parents and country again.
  • (3/5)
    When I was growing up my mother would always say that if Cuba hadn't been communist she would have emigrated there instead (this statement was brought on by snow, an experience she still doesn't enjoy.) There were also jokes growing up about how Castro being from Galicia (the region of Spain my family is from) so I have always been a little bit curious about Cuba. At the start of the story the revolution is just beginning and not everyone sees what is coming, not Lucia a fourteen year old living with her brother and parents. The schools have just been closed and soldiers have come to the town. Her parents are making her stay at home and she's upset. As time goes on even Lucia sees that things are not right. Her parents eventually decide to send them to the US where she ends up in Nebraska with a couple that truly makes room for Lucia and her seven year old brother in their hearts. Lucia manages to bridge her Cuban self and her American self.

    Seeing the slow change of everyone's lives through Lucia's eyes gives it an interesting perspective. She doesn't really understand what's going on right away. All she see's is that she is not being allowed to behave the way she normally would. It's only once things become more extreme and neighbors disappear or are killed that she really understands how wrong things are.

    Over the past few years I've started to do some reading on Cuba and what happened there, but the children's exit visa was not something I had ever heard of. It sounded like a gut wrenching experience and reminds me of the kindertransport during World War II although this seems to have ended happily much more often then that did according to the author's note. Ivette's letters are also very hard to read. They show Lucia's parents worst nightmare come true; a teen who no longer knows how to think for herself.

    Glad I finally got around to reading this. I felt like I learned a lot and Lucia, Frankie, their parents and the Baxter's were all wonderful characters that I enjoyed meeting.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating. Not a topic/period in history/event in history I've ever been particularly interested in, but Gonzalez tells it so well, with such relatable characters, that it's a compelling story.
  • (4/5)
    I very much enjoyed this book, recommended for Grades 6-9, about a family affected by the 1961 revolution in Cuba led by Fidel Castro. Lucia, the 14-year-old girl who narrates the story, tells the details of how her family had to make big changes in their lives when they didn't go along with the revolution. Lucia and her 7-year-old brother, Frankie, were sent to the United States to live because their parents feared for their safety. As she tell each step of the journey and their new lives in Nebraska, you can feel what the children of that era must have felt. The author did a good job of writing about the emotions of a young teenage girl being separated from her family.I thought this story was well written, and I learned a lot about the beginning of the Cuban revolution. I did not know much about it and was glad to learn through this very interesting story. I would recommend it to you and your middle grade children/grandchildren -- or read it together so that you can discuss it with them!
  • (4/5)
    It's 1961 and Fidel Castro has taken over Cuba. At first the Revolution is fun - Lucia and her younger brother Frankie get a vacation from school because the private schools have been closed. Lucia's planning on shopping and hanging out with her best friend Ivette. But her parents won't let her go out. And they won't let her join the youth movement of the revolution like many of Lucia's friends. And soon Lucia starts to see the darker side of the revolution. When the danger becomes too great, Lucia's parents send her and Frankie by themselves to America, just like thousands of other Cuban children who are part of what eventually becomes known as Operation Pedro Pan. All by themselves in a strange country where they barely speak the language... Everything's changing for Lucia and Frankie... will life ever go back to normal? Will they ever see Cuba - or their parents - again? Lush descriptions of Cuba and Lucia's life there made me feel like i was right there beside her. Even though Lucia and Frankie don't leave Cuba until halfway through the book, I never felt like the plot was moving too slowly. This is a great look into an event that many children won't be familiar with and it's a fantastic debut. Highly recommended.