It’s a pivotal time in America’s history. Set in the Spanish Harlem, 1969, Sesame Street star Sonia Manzano’s first novel follows the fiery and free-spirited heart of 14-year-old Evelyn Serrano. With the help of her brassy grandma, Evelyn is caught up in the action and activism of the Young Lords fiery protests in her neighborhood, and through the upheaval, discovers a deep, hidden pride in her heritage.
It’s her grandmother, Abuela, who tells Evelyn about the 1937 Nationalist uprising in Puerto Rico and connects the current activism with the Latino past. Through the revival of their unique history, three generations of women are drawn closer as they unite in a common cause. Filled with smart characters, wisdom, and the social lessons learned from racial inequities, activism, and the power of love, Manzano takes her readers on a remarkable and complex journey through America’s rarely discussed past. I was profoundly touched and moved by this book! I hope it’s not Sonia Manzano’s last.
There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and stepfather. 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.