Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Sonia Manzano
Illustrator: Elizabeth B. Parisi
Publisher: Scholastic Press
It's 1969 in El Barrio, Spanish Harlem, New York, and ever day feels the same to Evelyn. Every day Puerto Ricans work and work but don’t really get anywhere. But El Barrio takes a turn when the Young Lords activist group rises. Evelyn senses a change when her Abuela comes to stay with her family and she learns the history of her family and Puerto Rico. The activist group soon sets fire to the garbage that was not being picked up by the city’s sanitation department. They then petition and use the First Spanish Methodist Church building, lasting twelve days before being arrested peacefully, to hold a free-breakfast program for children, a clothing drive, and other events to help the community and to show that the people can make a change. Throughout these twelve days, Evelyn begins to recognize herself in her Abuela and, surprisingly, in her Mami.
Following the story of a fictional character, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is based on true historical events that took place in El Barrio in 1969. This story explores the theme of being active in your community to bring about change. Evelyn's story is great for young readers as it can help them to understand social change, especially during this historical event. Although the overall language used in the book is not difficult, the ideas and themes discussed are more appropriate for readers twelve-years-old and up. Sonia Manzano uses a good sense of humor throughout her writing that readers will enjoy. Teens may relate well to this story as it discusses Evelyn’s relationship between her parents and her grandmother as she begins to understand herself.