The Red Umbrella

The Red Umbrella

By Christina Gonzalez

Knopf Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375861901, 288pp.

Publication Date: May 11, 2010


The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.


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?


The Red Umbrella is a moving story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.

About the Author

Christina Diaz Gonzalez based this powerful novel on the experiences of her parents, and of the more than 14,000 other unaccompanied minors who came to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan. This mass exodus of children is a little-known and fascinating piece of history, and Gonzalez has created a story that brings that history vibrantly to life.


Gonzalez practiced law for several years before returning to her childhood passion for stories and writing. The Red Umbrella is her first novel.


Christina Diaz Gonzalez lives in Miami, Florida, with her husband and two sons. You can visit her on the Web at