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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Pura Belpré Honor Book The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is a powerful coming-of-age story set against the rarely explored historical backdrop of the Latino civil rights movement in 1960s New York City. Originally called Rosa, our 14-year-old narrator renames herself Evelyn as she navigates the increasingly complicated familial and social boundaries of her Harlem neighborhood. Author Sonia Manzano makes Evelyn’s neighborhood sing with colorful interactions between its inhabitants and vivid descriptions of their mindset—which was fed up with their impoverished surroundings. Evelyn is a rewarding protagonist: observant, funny (leaning heavily toward wry), and relatably awkward. She is constantly in search of her own identity and space, as she lives in a small apartment with her overly protective mother and her traditional stepfather. However, it is her abuela who steals the show. An activist herself and—it has to be said—an exciting and fun troublemaker, Abuela visits from Puerto Rico with her drawn-on eyebrows. She joins the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, and turns Evelyn’s restricted but orderly life upside down.

The novel is at it best when it lets the reader experience the tension, admiration, and dissent within the community when the Young Lords sweep into the neighborhood determined to make changes with extremely unconventional tactics. Tactics like setting garbage on fire after it has been ignored repeatedly by the sanitation department and seizing—seizing!—a church in order to establish a childcare center. Late 1960s Spanish Harlem was at a tipping point after years of neglect and mistreatment, and the arrival of the Young Lords would initially divide but ultimately fortify Evelyn’s relationship with her family and her appreciation of herself as a young woman of Puerto Rican descent. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is a truly informative and compelling read.

Lastly, a fun surprise for lovers of Sesame Street: Sonia Manzano played María in the original cast! The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is her debut novel.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is available in TAB June and Club Shop.


Author Bio: Concetta Gleason is the editorial assistant/admin coordinator for Club Leo.

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June 17, 2013