The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
By Sonia Manzano
Scholastic • 2012 • 224 pages
Like Pam Muñoz Ryan, who so beautifully and eloquently captures the essence of the Mexican-American experience, and Julia Alvarez, who does the same for Dominican-Americans, Sonia Manzano sheds some light on the history of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican-Americans (or, more accurately, Nuyoricans).
In The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, this long-time Sesame Street contributor and Emmy Award-winning actress places a large amount of weight on Rosa María Evelyn del Carmen’s (AKA Evelyn) shoulders. Evelyn simultaneously tells the story of the Ponce Massacre of 1937 while living through, and participating in the activism of the Young Lords and their 11-day occupation of a church in East Harlem in 1969. This event comes at a time when Evelyn is trying to understand who she is and where she stands on issues ranging from those related to her own family, to the world at large. She does so primarily with the help of her Abuela, her estranged grandmother and long-time activist.
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The events and history that Manzano shares with readers are worthy of volumes of books, but it is encouraging to see Manzano and Evelyn bring awareness to topics rarely covered by mainstream media. May Manzano be offered more opportunities to bring her knowledge and experience of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican-Americans to the forefront. Boricuas and their descendants everywhere need and deserve to have more of their stories told.
—Reviewed by Marietta B. Zacker, Book Curator at Sparkhouse in South Orange, NJ