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The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  692 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
One of America’s most influential Hispanics -- 'Maria' on Sesame Street -- presents a powerful novel set in New York's El Barrio in 1969

There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo? 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 th
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press
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Milly Corneil Absolutely, especially if you are on the east coast where so many Puerto Ricans live. I grew up around them and it was a pleasure reading a little…moreAbsolutely, especially if you are on the east coast where so many Puerto Ricans live. I grew up around them and it was a pleasure reading a little about their heritage and struggles. Besides, it is written by one of my favorite people, Sonia Manzano, from Sesame Street...her first book. The book is easy to read and I would certainly considered it historical novel. (less)
The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterAmber House by Kelly  MooreWhat's Left of Me by Kat ZhangTen by Gretchen McNeilImmortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson
September 2012 YA Fiction
36th out of 111 books — 86 voters
Countdown by Deborah WilesThe Wednesday Wars by Gary D. SchmidtFallout by Todd StrasserGlory Be by Augusta ScattergoodI Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín
Middle Grade set in the 1960s
20th out of 50 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

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Alma  Ramos-McDermott
Jan 29, 2016 Alma Ramos-McDermott rated it it was amazing
Before I begin my review of this fiction book which has many true elements contained within it, I want to tell the world “Yo soy Puertorriqueña” (I am Puerto Rican), and I was more proud of my heritage than ever after reading Sonia Manzano’s book.

Read the rest of my review at: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.c...
Kelly Hager
Aug 30, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
In 1969, Evelyn Serrano was living with her mom and stepfather in New York's Puerto Rican neighborhood (El Barrio). She doesn't really like her neighborhood or her real name (Rosa---Evelyn is one of her middle names and what she's chosen to go by). Then her grandmother moves in and an activist group called the Young Lords begin protesting. Evelyn is fascinated by both---Abuela has these amazing stories and the Young Lords really do just want to make things better in the neighborhood. And over th ...more
This is a review brought to you by two hands.

On the one hand, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is an incredibly engaging, thoughtful novel featuring a young girl learning about her own history.

Rosa María Evelyn del Carmen Serrano is the daughter of Puerto Ricans living in El Barrio, the Spanish Harlem neighbourhood in the 60s, at that point in time when change is coming – when the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group start protesting about the living conditions in El Barrio.

The novel follo
It is 1969, and fourteen-year-old Evelyn Serrano has decided to forgo her first name, Rosa, because it is such a common name in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, filled with the languages, foods, and cultures of immigrants. Evelyn herself speaks little Spanish although she can understand it when it is spoken to her. When her grandmother temporarily moves in with Evelyn's family, she at first resents her presence and the tension that builds between her own mother and grandmother because of their p ...more
Lisa Suchy
Mar 15, 2015 Lisa Suchy rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
Evelyn Serrano, a fourteen year old girl lives in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York is going through a lot of changes. Her Abuela comes to live with her and her family and she finds out some interesting information as things are happening before her eyes. The year is 1969 and much is going in Evelyn’s world. The book goes through stages of the Young Lords movement, a Puerto Rican activist group, and discusses how Evelyn sees and feels about it. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano brings in hi ...more
Melissa Barbier
This book is about a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York in 1969. It is mainly about the activism that occurred there with the group called the Young Lords. This group set fire to the overflowing garbage cans on the streets to raise awareness that there was not regular garbage pickup. Meanwhile, the main character, Evelyn (who is going by Evelyn because she wants to shorten her Hispanic name of Rosa Maria Evelyn del Carmen Serrano) deals with teen strife, learning to respect and appreciate her ...more
Jun 07, 2015 LauraR rated it really liked it
This telling story is an award winning book which depicts the story of Evelyn Serrano, a young girl whose name used to be Rosa, and her family's life in a traditional Spanish neighborhood. Reading this book online was a great experience and due to the fact that there weren't any pictures, it seemed as though there wasn't a difference between the print version and the ebook version. When her neighborhood begins to experience some changes, and her grandmother comes to visit, Evelyn is forced to ch ...more
BAYA Librarian
Mar 31, 2013 BAYA Librarian rated it really liked it
Set in East Harlem, the book tells the true events surrounding the 11 day occupation of the First Spanish Methodist Church in December 1969. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican nationalist and civil rights group tried to get the church to let them use space for a day care and breakfast program.

Amid clashes between the Young Lords and the police, Evelyn is growing up and learning about her family's history and finding her own political voice. Caught between her traditional mother and her anti-authori
Evelyn's grandmother comes to visit and Evelyn gets swept up in her grandmother and mother's feud. Her grandmother was a revolutionary in Puerto Rico and her mother was frequently left behind, so there are a lot of hurt feelings. Then all three of them get swept into a demonstration by the Young Lords, a group that was trying to make things better for Puerto Rican's in the 1960s.

This book is a quick read that is packed with historical details and information. The author clearly did her research
Nov 26, 2012 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
It’s the summer of 1969 and garbage is piling up on the streets of Spanish Harlem. Evelyn, who has changed her name from Rosa, has a new job at the Five and Dime. It’s a lot better than her job in the family’s bodega. But that summer is not going to be a normal summer at all. First, Evelyn’s grandmother arrives, complete with large amounts of stylish clothes, makeup and books in Spanish. If Evelyn thought she didn’t get along with her mother, that’s doubly true of her mother and her grandmother ...more
I enjoyed hearing Sonia Manzano read this in person at JCLC 2012. I enjoyed reading it at home, not so much because the narrative is choppy. The chapters are too short; thus, the novel lacks rhythm. Though, the short chapters will work for tweens and reluctant readers.

Despite my criticism of the novel's flow, this book is an important and necessary addition to historical fiction novels for teens. I love that it highlights protest movements and nonviolent social change. Manzano's details about Pu
Feb 05, 2015 Jenna rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I can't remember where I heard of this book, but I put it on my to-read list because it was written by "Maria" from Sesame Street. That great TV institution started when I was a toddler so I grew up with it at its very newest and youngest, and I loved Maria right along with my love for Captain Kangaroo.

This was a wonderful story of a family of women seen through the eyes of the youngest of the three generations and set during a fascinating time in history. It highlights a lesser-known event in t
Mary Mayfield
Jul 12, 2013 Mary Mayfield rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: intermediate
Genre: historical fiction
Remembering- Evelyn has a new job. Where was that job? Where did her mother want her to work?
Understanding- Describe what the Young Lords did the first time they went to the church.
Applying- What would you have done if you had to choose to sit with your mother one one side of the church or your grandmother on the other side?
Analyzing - Why is the title written with the letters "evolution" a different color than the rest of the title? Wh
Beth E
Nov 23, 2015 Beth E rated it it was amazing
I was drawn to read this book because of the author's work on Sesame Street, but the book stands up in its own right. It's a wonderful Bildungsroman. Evelyn Serrano is a rebellious teenager when she gets caught up in the Civil Rights movement of summer 1969. In the process, she gets to know her grandmother, develops a much better relationship with her mother, and learns to be proud of her Puerto Rican ancestry.
Ann Nekola
Jul 15, 2013 Ann Nekola rated it liked it
Audience: Intermediate, Teen, and Young adult
Genre: Historical Fiction Chapter Book

1. Remembering-What is Evelyn's full name and why did she shorten it to just Evelyn?
2. Understanding-Retell the story from Angel's point of view.
3. Applying-How is the population of South Omaha similar to the population of Spanish Harlem?
4. Analyzing-Compare the two mothering styles of Evelyn's mother and her Grandmother.
5. Evaluating-Justify Abuela's actions of not going to the hospital with Evelyn and her mother
Vamos a Leer
Aug 12, 2015 Vamos a Leer rated it it was amazing
This book accomplishes something that no other young adult book I know about does: it tells the story of the Puerto Rican Civil Rights Movement during the late 1960s in New York City, while contextualizing it within Puerto Rico's own tumultuous history. The majority of the time when we teach about the Civil Rights Movement, it’s limited to a few famous African-Americans. While this certainly doesn’t do justice to the widespread social activism of the African-American community and its supporters ...more
Jun 06, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Evelyn Serrano is a fourteen-year-old living in Spanish Harlem in 1969. She works at the five-and-dime, and realizes her neighborhood offers no hope or inspiration for a bright future. Evelyn feels a lot of resentment when Abuela (Evelyn’s mother’s mother) moves into the family home, and specifically into Evelyn’s bedroom. Abuela has a long history of involvement in social justice, and becomes involved in some contentious protests and causes in Evelyn’s neighborhood. This creates much conflict b ...more
Amy Rae
Nov 04, 2014 Amy Rae rated it it was ok
Life amidst the Young Lords in New York City's El Barrio, circa 1969, is a worthy subject for a book, but The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is a disappointment.

First of all, the title character is a major pill. She's constantly complaining, is pretty damned cruel towards her mother, and makes snap judgments about everyone and everything around her. Sure, she's fourteen years old, and as a rule, fourteen-year-olds kind of suck. But she's our central character and narrator--and I found it unenjoya
Julia Reynolds
Jul 22, 2014 Julia Reynolds rated it it was ok
This book is on the week for “award winners” because it won an ALSC award for positive representation of Latino life and culture in children’s literature. And frankly, yes, it did portray that through the fictional story of Evelyn, a young Puerto Rican-American in New York during 1969-1970, when a group of young Puerto Rican-American activists called the “Young Lords” occupied a church and provided food, medical testing, clothes, cultural education, etc. similar to the Black Panthers.

But frankly
Jun 25, 2014 Leticia rated it really liked it
I stumbled across The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano while browsing through the Young Adult section of my local library looking for a new book to read. As a bilingual fourth grade educator, I love YA and children’s literature and am always looking for the next great novel about Latino/a identidad. When I turned to the About the Author page in the back cover, I found out that the author is Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on Sesame Street. During my childhood, she was the first Latina woman who I wa ...more
Sonia Rodriguez
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano opens with a frustrated fourteen year old Evelyn getting ready for her summer job at the Five-and-Dime. Her desire to fit in to American society and distance herself from her Puerto Rican heritage is disrupted when her Abuela comes to stay with them. Abuela’s orange hair and bright clothes makes her anything but the traditional grandmother Evelyn expected. Abuela taking over Evelyn’s bedroom with makeup, hair rollers, and flashy clothes is only t ...more
I was interested in this book when it first came out, even before I found out Sonia Manzano played Maria on Sesame Street. I ordered it for my library, but never got around to picking it up. Then it won a Pura Belpre honor last year, but still I didn't get around to it. Finally, this year the school librarian and I are pulling together book lists for each grade, and I thought this one might be a good choice. I think I was right.

I read this book in one night. When I first started reading, I wasn'
Jun 07, 2014 Celia rated it liked it
The setting: El Barrio in NYC, during the turbulent late 60's. Evelyn is a young Puerto Rican girl, who lives with her mother and father, and is just at the point where she is trying to become her own person. She looks at her mother, and sees a tired old woman, who cares only about her dream to own a home. Her father, too, is always working in their store. And then, that summer of 1969, her grandmother walks into her life. This woman is the opposite of her mother, and Evelyn is caught in between ...more
Jocelyn Mejia
May 03, 2015 Jocelyn Mejia rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is about a young teenager that is experiencing drama any other teenager deals with at that age along with learning about her family history, conflict in her neighborhood, and trying to become comfortable with her cultural identity. Evelyn's grandmother moves in with her and learns about her family history and why her mother and grandmother do not get along. Evelyn and her grandmother join forces and supports the Young Lords to help out the neighborhood.
I really e
Kacey Williams
Feb 12, 2014 Kacey Williams rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all ages
Recommended to Kacey by: teacher
Evelyn lives with her single mother in a Spanish Harlen neighborhood. When Evelyn's grandmother comes to visit, her and Evelyn's mother always argue and never agree on things, this causes Mami (Evelyn's mother) to leave the house. With no one else to talk to, Abuela (Evelyn's grandmother)talks to Evelyn about her history.Evelyn learns a lot about responsibility, and heroism when a Puerto Rican activist group named, The Young Lords, start a protest by catching street garbage on fire.This causes h ...more
Marisa Gonzalez
Aug 19, 2014 Marisa Gonzalez rated it liked it
This is a difficult book to review. I liked the way it was written but I didn't like the subject matter because it romanticized the Young Lords. To me the Young Lords were a communist organization in disguise a lot of their community outreach was very similar to that of Fidel Castro. I think young Latinos reading this book will take it for what it is portrayed as - a great organization that promoted equality for Puerto Ricans but will not look further into the background or demise of the group w ...more
Pam Williams
Apr 10, 2014 Pam Williams rated it really liked it
We got some new books in the middle school library where I work which have Latina themes. I want to read them so I can recommend them and this is the first one I picked up. It tells a wonderful story of Evelyn, a young "Nuyorican" (Puerto Rican born on the mainland) girl. She's a typical teen until her Aubeula (grandmother) comes to live with them. Evelyn becomes caught up in the political unrest of the times and her Aubeula's political fervor. Set in East Harlem in 1969 and using the Young Lord ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Merrikay rated it really liked it
This was a very quick read, a Young Adult book. It tells the story of a Puerto Rican teen as she begins to understand her heritage and the political activism of her grandmother, who has been an embarrassment to her. The story is also told of the girl's mother and the mother's bitterness toward the grandmother because of what mom perceives as grandma's neglect due to her political activism. (What a sentence!) Therefore, the reader gets to see the interaction of three generation of Puerto Rican wo ...more
Mar 07, 2015 Jamie rated it really liked it
I did an hour read on this one and I was hooked by the first chapter! The first pages are especially lovely and authentic--an annoyed 14 year old and her overbearing mother. Short chapters, quick dialogue, Spanish interspersed w/ plenty of context clues, a strong & accessible sense of place. Navigating worlds, cultures, identity… regular teen stuff but in an authentically historical context and important/untold stories about PR activism, twists (Grandpa was a Nationalist). Plus, everyone kno ...more
Feb 06, 2014 Sonya rated it did not like it

In The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, written in first person, by Sonia Manzano, the proverb "Don't try to cover the whole sky with the palm of your hand," is repeatedly mentioned through out the novel. The meaning of this proverb is, you cannot cover-up your past experiences no matter how bad they are. Each time this is mentioned in the novel, the person the proverb was directed to was being foolish. Rosa María Evelyn del Carmen Serrano, who refuses to be called Rosa, but wants to be called Evel

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Sonia Manzano (born June 12, 1950) is an American actress and writer. She is best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street from 1971 until her retirement in 2015.

Manzano was born in New York City and was raised in South Bronx. Her parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico. Manzano attended the High School of Performing Arts, where she began her acting career. She attended Carnegie Mellon Universi
More about Sonia Manzano...

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