Mock Newbery 2023 discussion

Book of the Month 2011 > August Read - The Red Umbrella

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message 1: by Kristen (last edited Aug 01, 2010 07:51AM) (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 578 comments Mod
The Red Umbrella has been getting a lot of praise as a great historical fiction story for kids. What did you think of it?

message 2: by June (new)

June Morgan | 29 comments I haven't read it yet, but it has gotten good reviews. But, I think As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth would go before Red Umbrella by Lynne Rae Perkins. She won for Criss Cross several years ago. Truthfully, I am almost finished with it and love it.
For a cute historical fiction, I loved Turtle in Paradise, but I don't think it would win Newbery.

message 3: by June (new)

June Morgan | 29 comments YALSA has just updated their list as of June 2, 2010. In case you haven't seen it, here is the link.

message 4: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 578 comments Mod
June wrote: "YALSA has just updated their list as of June 2, 2010. In case you haven't seen it, here is the link."

Thank you June! I love all the links that have been posted.

message 5: by Dana (new)

Dana Duffy Backs | 45 comments I loved this book. The patriotic tone may turn off the committee however. This would have bothered me had it not been written by a person with such intimate knowledge of the subject.

I loved As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earthmore. (Certainly more than Criss Cross, which bored me to tears.)So far Easy and One Crazy Summerare my favorites.

message 6: by Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) (last edited Aug 02, 2010 06:23AM) (new)

Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) (alybee930) | 21 comments I loved The Red Umbrella. I haven't read As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth in order to compare but TRU was something I really enjoyed. I had the opportunity to see Christina Diaz Gonzalez twice this past weekend. First she was speaking at a local indie bookstore and the whole audience was nearly Cuban American. Many of the individuals there had left Cuba during the sixties. There were also quite a few who were "Pedro Pans". To hear their responses to Christina's book and to watch her interact with them was amazing. Their story hasn't been told often and many of them have never really shared it with their families and this book has given them an opportunity to discuss the events.

As for the patriotic tone, I think it fits the situation and the time period especially after seeing the reaction of this crowd.

message 7: by Karen (new)

Karen | 5 comments My favorite book so far this year is still Out of My Mind; when I read it aloud, my students were engrossed in Melody and her story. I liked As EAsy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth, but didn't love it; based on my friends' reactions, I'm definitely in the minority on this one. The Red Umbrella will absolutely be on my read aloud list this year; I think it's a beautifully done story with great accuracy based on the author's personal research. A look at parts of Cuba I didn't know (the loveliness of it and its beautiful traditions) through the narrator's eyes.

Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) (alybee930) | 21 comments I am putting Out of My Mind on my read aloud list too. Very different than The Red Umbrella but both are powerful in their own ways.

message 9: by Dana (new)

Dana Duffy Backs | 45 comments I think As Easy as Falling off the Earth really should be a YA book.

message 10: by Patty (new)

Patty (loonfern) | 11 comments Bravo, Christina Gonzalez. Thanks for introducing me to Pedro Pan.
I was totally swept away by your story. I felt so much empathy for the Alvarez family. This is a story that needs to be told.

message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam | 22 comments I agree this story is one that needs to be told! What a fascinating part of American and Cuban history. As many have written this month Gonzalez does an exquisite job with describing the richness of Cuban life and its environment. By doing so Lucia's feelings of homesickness really resonated with me and evoked empathetic feelings.

I love how vivid Lucia in particular is as a character. Her interest in fashion magazines, boys, and nail polish seemed natural and pitch perfect. Gonzalez also does an excellent job exploring how friendships, families, and ways of life are wretchedly changed and laying bare the bewilderment of Lucia, her friends, and family. The evolution in the friendship between Lucia and Ivette was terrific and well done. The story fills the reader with uncertainty and fear for the characters' safety. However, Gonzalez knows she is writing for children and keeps the action and direction of the book contained so it doesn't become overwhelming.

I loved Countdown and its innovative format, however, I can see The Red Umbrella being picked. This story is more compelling and Lucia's character grows more significantly than Franny's. (Though Franny is in 5th grade and Lucia is in 8th, so maybe comparing growth of character is unfair). I can't wait to compare them against Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth.

message 12: by Jamie (new)

Jamie | 8 comments Yay! A library in my state finally got a copy of The Red Umbrella! I've requested it and am just waiting for it to be delivered to my local library.

message 13: by David (last edited Aug 16, 2010 10:03AM) (new)

David | 26 comments I love history and The Red Umbrella is a great opportunity for tweens & teens to read about & better understand this rarely covered part of Cuban-American history. Lucia grows & matures from a self absorbed young teen into a young adult who struggles with a new language & a different culture, wondering if she will ever she her parents again.

The inclusion of phrases and words in Spanish along with a glossary was helpful to me. The imagry of the Red Umbella was perfect. I would have preferred a little more coverage of Lucia's time in Nebraska. More explanation of Ivette's change of heart rather than just sloganeering regarding the revolution would have been intriguing too. This book fills a real need and would be a good pairing with Countdown, which includes a lot of cultural and historical references of this time period.

My favorites so far this year are The Dreamer, The Water Seeker, One Crazy Summer, and Countdown. I am STILL waiting to get a copy of Out of My Mind.

message 14: by Kristen (last edited Oct 26, 2010 05:39PM) (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 578 comments Mod
I really enjoyed The Red Umbrella. It was well written and accurate. The newspaper headlines were genius enabling us to see not only actual history but the feel of American concern at the time. The story was very moving.

I think this is a good source for discussion.

message 15: by Christina (new)

Christina | 10 comments I'm sorry for the late post, but The Red Umbrella did not arrive at my library until the final days of August -- just as I was returning to teach. I liked The Red Umbrella more than Countdown because I saw more growth in Lucia's character from the beginning to the end of the novel and because the book captured so well the mixed emotions one can feel for a place that once was home. So far, The Red Umbrella is my favorite new juvenile book of 2010. I definitely will be recommending it to my sixth graders during our multicultural novel unit.

message 16: by Library (new)

Library Maven (libmaven) | 17 comments While I enjoyed THE RED UMBRELLA, I'm not sure it really hit me as 'distinguished.'

message 17: by Benji (new)

Benji Martin | 52 comments I loved it! If I had a vote for Newbery it would go to this book. I found the characters to be a bit more believeable than those in Out of My Mind. I still think Out of My Mind will win, but I would choose The Red Umbrella if I could.

message 18: by Jamie (new)

Jamie | 8 comments Finally was able to get this from the library and got around to reading it. Really enjoyed it. Gave a good flavor of what it must have been like living in Cuba just after the revolution and the difficult but rewarding move to the US. I would have to split my vote between The Red Umbrella and One Crazy Summer for the Newbery.

message 19: by Jess (new)

Jess (jessmonster) | 80 comments I enjoyed this, and thought it was a good example of a compelling piece of history that hasn't been written about much, but I didn't think the delivery was particularly distinguished. I'm trying to put my finger on it - I didn't find the language as interesting or rich as it might have been, which might fall under "appropriateness of style" in the criteria. The characters and setting were well done, and the story nice and meaty, but I didn't feel like the language matched all that.

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