Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
By Sonia Mazano
Scholastic, 2012. 205 pages. Historical fiction.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is beautifully written by Emmy-award winning "Sesame Street" writer and actress Sonia Manzano (Maria!). In the late 60s, Evelyn (who changed her name from Rosa to distance herself from her Puerto Rican heritage) lives in a tumultuous Harlem barrio. She is a typical teenager who fights with her parents and notices boys, but the rapidly-changing cultural climate makes her life atypical. Her political activist grandmother moves in and sweeps her into the neighborhood protests taking place in the interest of effecting political change. Throughout the revolution, Evelyn finds herself reconciling her American identity and her Puerto Rican culture. I found the themes of this exceptional novel to be applicable to current events around the world. As Abuela astutely observes, "That's why there are revolutions. Because many things are not right." The main character is a teenager, but there is nothing objectionable in the content; however, the novel is probably best suited to 5th grade+ readers. This book is in good company with One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia) and Esperanza Rising (Pam Munoz Ryan).

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