The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
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The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  416 ratings  ·  127 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...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press
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September 2012 YA Fiction
34th out of 111 books — 83 voters
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330th out of 343 books — 591 voters

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Community Reviews

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Alma  Ramos-McDermott
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
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
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
BAYA Librarian
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...more
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...more
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
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...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...more
Mary Mayfield
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...more
Ann Nekola
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...more
Julia Reynolds
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...more
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'...more
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
Kacey Williams
Feb 12, 2014 Kacey Williams rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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

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

meredith ann
first of all, this book is a must have for any library that serves a large puerto rican population.

an excellent way to introduce younger readers to the meaning of revolution and how it can start with small actions, with the goal to liberate and/or help an oppressed people become equal within their society. one of the novel's faults is its quick flow, which feels like part of the plot has been left out. however, for a younger reader, it is just enough to pique their interest and want them to lea...more
Shaeley Santiago
Growing up in East Harlem in the late 60s was not an easy task. Poverty and discrimination were the reality of the times. However, Evelyn learns to embrace her Puerto Rican heritage when her abuela suddenly appears in her life one summer as they become involved in the Young Lords occupation of a church.

Would make a great read aloud, especially parts about what a revolution really is like. I also loved the mixing in of Spanish with English usually following in next sentence as a subtle way to pro...more
I loved this book and the quirky but spunky grandma! Above all, I love the way it subtly instills pride in the young protagonist as she finds her self in that 11-day window. It reminded me of Nicholasa Mohr's novels and also of Paule Marshall's "Brown Girl, Brownstones"and yes, even Esmeralda Santiago's "When I was Puerto Rican" all which are great reads for young adults living in ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

The book can be read in one sitting - but it's one of those feel good books that l...more
Yes and no to this one. Mostly yes, but no for the constant direct translation of Spanish to English and the excessive use of italics to indicate Spanish. If you know Spanish, this convention makes every character seem like an idiot who has to say things twice, and if you don't, you shouldn't have things handed to you that easily anyway. It's called gathering things from context, and if you're at all a reader, you've done it your whole life with pictures, with English words you just don't know y...more
"When we think of revolutions, we think of big public displays of violence, but revolutions come in all shapes and sizes. I've always been interested in people's internal revolutions because those are the ones that govern their everyday actions and, by progression, a community's life."

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, P. 211

Before attending a promotional author event for this book, I must admit I had never heard of The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. I had heard of author Sonia Manzano, howeve...more
Draft review for BAYA

Set in East Harlem in 1969--the true events surrounding the 11 day occupation of the First Spanish Methodist Church in East Harlem in December 1969 --Young Lords--Puerto Rican nationalist group and civil rights group tried to get a local church to let them use space for a day care and breakfast program.

Amid clashes between the Young Lords and the police, Evelyn growing up and learning about her family's history and finding her own political voice. Caught between her traditio...more
My biggest complaint about this book is, well, metadata. It's shelved and marketed as YA, but it reads barely middle grade, by no means possessing the complexities one might expect either from that designation or from the subject itself. I really admire Sonia Manzano (María from Sesame Street!), but she's only ever written for children before, and in my view with this book she still is. And not particularly well, alas! I AM ALL FOR CHILDREN'S MEDIA but I am also all for YA, you know? And that's...more
This book was written by Maria from Sesame Street! I know, right? I only put this together halfway through the book. But right before the reference to Sesame Street was made. So it's not like I embarrassed myself in front of the book or anything.

By reading this story, I learned something. That doesn't necessarily happen every time when you're an adult reading books for younger readers. It's exciting that youth literature now includes stories about civil rights among many different groups of peop...more
Marisa Slusarcyk
This book was a wonderful book with a great plot on how little things become big things and how every little bit helps, teaching kids (and adults) to stand up for what they believe in as long as it is within the parameters of the law. I read the entire book believing it was fiction. However, at the end the author writes about many of the events being real and she does cite many sources from newspapers from the 60’s-70’s that we can read ourselves for a minimal fee.

My being from an area that spea...more
This is a very juvenile book about a revolution among Puerto Ricans in New York during the late 1960s. The protagonists' name is Evelyn, and she is at that stage in life where she is trying to find herself. She is torn between her Puerto Rican heritage and her adopted American identity. One day, her Abuela (grandmother) comes to stay with her and she introduces Evelyn to the world of revolutionaries. A group named the Young Lords is demanding more things for the people, such as donations and fre...more
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