Synopses & Reviews
One of Americas most influential Hispanics -- 'Maria' on Sesame Street -- presents a powerful novel set in New York's El Barrio in 1969
There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo? her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who's come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.
"In Sesame Street star and picture-book author Manzano's (A Box Full of Kittens) first novel, set in 1969 Spanish Harlem, 14-year-old Evelyn Serrano finds a new appreciation for her family and pride in her Puerto Rican heritage amid neighborhood protests. Evelyn is frustrated with her struggling parents, who cling to the old ways of Puerto Rico, and sick of the 'El Barrio fart smell of garbage' that makes the summer heat hard to bear. Things hit a fever pitch when Evelyn's free-spirited abuela arrives to live with them, clashing with everyone. It's Abuela who tells Evelyn about the 1937 Nationalist uprising in Puerto Rico and how it's similar to the Young Lords who are burning garbage and occupying a local church to focus attention on the barrio. The knowledge helps bring three generations of women closer as they unite in a common cause. Manzano shines light on a little-known moment in history through the eyes of a realistically mercurial protagonist who can be both petulant and sympathetic. Evelyn's tale fascinates, ending on a hopeful note. Ages 10 14. Agent: Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sonia Manzano has affected the lives of millions since the early 1970s, as the actress who defined the role of "Maria" on the acclaimed television series Sesame Street. Sonia has won fifteen Emmy Awards for her television writing and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences. People magazine named Sonia one of Americas most influential Hispanics. This is Sonias first novel. She lives in New York City.