The Red Umbrella / <br>La Sombrilla Roja cover

Knopf BFYR, 2010

The Red Umbrella / <br>La Sombrilla Roja cover

(Spanish translation of The Red Umbrella)
Gables Publishing, 2017


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The Red Umbrella /
La Sombrilla Roja

“Gonzalez enters the literary scene with this exceptional historical novel.”

Kirkus Reviews

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. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.

As the revolution’s impact becomes more oppressive, 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?

Based on the real events of Operation Pedro Pan where over 14,000 Cuban children were sent to the U.S. in the two year period between 1960-1962, this novel depicts the pain of losing one’s homeland and showcases the generosity of the American spirit.


Awards & Recognition:

American Library Association Best Fiction for Young Adults

ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Top Ten Indie Next Book

International Reading Association – Teacher’s Choice Book

CCBC Choices Book

Skipping Stones Honor Award

International Latino Book Award – Silver Medal

Florida Book Award – Gold Medal

Nebraska Book Award – Gold Medal

Oregon State Reading List

Nebraska State Reading List

Arizona State Reading List

Latina Magazine’s Best Book of the Year

ABC New Voices Pick

Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book

Christian Science Monitor’s Best Children’s Book 

2017 YALSA Amazing Audiobook

2018 Junior Library Guild Selection for Spanish Books

Florida B.E.S.T. Standards Book- 7th grade

“Christina Diaz Gonzalez captures the fervor, uncertainty and fear of the times through Lucía’s first-person perspective and the newspaper headlines that begin each chapter…a compelling first novel.” – Washington Post

“Debut author Gonzalez excels at highlighting the cultural difficulties… memorable heroine and supporting cast offer a moving portrait of resilience and reinvention” – Publisher’s Weekly

“An insightful window into the aspect of recent history known as Pedro Pan” – Denver Post

“Gonzalez deals effectively with separation, culture shock, homesickness, uncertainty and identity as she captures what is also a grand adventure – resilient kids taking to a new way of life.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Well-written novel has a thoroughly believable protagonist and well-chosen period details… it could generate some excellent classroom discussions”– School Library Journal

“Through the eyes of (the) likable young narrator, readers will understand a compelling part of history. Kudos to Christina Diaz Gonzalez for sharing her family’s story, and for telling it so well.” – Christian Science Monitor


Book Trailer

Virtual Reading

Virtual Reading in Spanish