The Red Umbrella
by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May, 2010
List Price: $16.99
Review: A secret plan, to save the children, they must be sent away… Alone! Christina Diaz Gonzalez paints this picture in The Red Umbrella. The main characters are Lucia, Frankie, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, and Lucia’s parents. This historical fiction book is sure to please. However, The Red Umbrella is a non-series book. The story follows 14 year-old Lucia Alvarez as she moves from her carefree life in Cuba to struggling to make a new life in Nebraska.
The story starts with Lucia and Frankie hanging out at the beach, showing how easy her life is in the year 1961. Soon, the communist revolution hits Lucia. Her friends are joining the revolutionary brigades and neighbors are disappearing. Lucia witnesses firsthand the terror the revolution has caused, people getting shot and an anti-revolutionary pharmacist hanged in public. Lucia’s own family is trying to turn them in. Manuel, her crush, is against her life style. Everything seems wrong for Lucia. Things get worse when her family makes the heart-tearing decision. They buy airplane tickets for Lucia and Frankie; only Lucia and Frankie. The two Alvarez kids are put into a new country, new fashions, new languages, and well-meaning strangers. Will Lucia and Frankie ever go home? All answers lie under the cover of The Red Umbrella.
Looking at the cover I thought, “Oh no! 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. This book is shocking; I didn’t think I would see any violence in this book but I was wrong. It is also filled with hilarious moments, like in the scene where Mrs. Baxter urges Lucia to eats Tabasco sauce with eggs: “‘oh my, you don’t like it? Mrs. Baxter’s eyebrows were scrunched together. ‘I thought you liked spicy food. I read that in Mexico they put it on everything…’ ‘Ughmm.’ I cleared my throat. ‘In Cuba, we no eat spicy food. Mexico yes, Cuba no.’ even my ears felt hot.’” Plus, the storyline is very interesting. It told what people had to go through to survive during the revolution. It gives children great insight into a fascinating time in history. This left me hysterical. This book is most appropriate for everyone ages 11 up due to some language and violence.
Review written by Ohm (7th grade student).
We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Red Umbrella for this review.
Have you read The Red Umbrella? How would you rate it?