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Home » giveaways, headline

The Red Umbrella – a giveaway.

Submitted by on July 26, 2010 – 4:18 am4 Comments

[NOTE - 7/28/2010 - Congratulations to the winner of The Red Umbrella giveaway: Tracy. Thanks for sharing your story about the Kindertransport, too. Send me your snail mail address and I will get the book out to you. Thank you for entering.]

There is an episode in Cuban history that not many people outside of our community are aware of .

When Castro and his cronies took power, not only was personal property at risk of being confiscated by the new communist government, but parents were going to lose their rights over their own children.

Desperate and terrified Cuban parents made the unthinkable decision to send their children out of the country rather than risk losing them to Marxist-Leninist indoctrination.

Airplane tickets and passports were clandestinely secured. With the help of the Catholic Welfare Bureau (Catholic Charities) of Miami 14,048 (!) Cuban youths were placed in foster homes and orphanages throughout the U.S during those years.

The largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere was known as Operation Pedro Pan. From December of 1960 to October of 1962 they left Cuba, a few at a time.

The Cuban parents who sent their children out of the country didn’t know if they would ever see their children again. Many did not. About half of them were reunited with their parents. But if you were to talk to most Pedro Pans today, they are nothing but grateful to their parents for making this impossibly heartbreaking sacrifice.

My friend, Christina Diaz Gonzalez has taken on the topic of the Pedro Pans and has crafted an absolutely beautiful story. The book is called The Red Umbrella. It is an historical fiction novel that follows 14 year-old Lucia from her carefree life in a small town in Cuba to an unknown future, without her parents, in the heart of Nebraska.

The story strikes a personal chord with Christina, as both her parents and mother-in-law were part of  Operation Pedro Pan.

Carrie and I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Christina in May at Cuba Nostalgia in Miami. (And yes, as a matter of fact, she is absolutely adorable, but that’s not important right now.)

(Of course, Carrie got up close and personal with the video camera and got Christina to give us some Tiki Tiki love.)

I was so personally delighted with the book (and with Christina, herself) that I asked if I could please promote her book. She graciously agreed.

Christina will be in Southern California this coming weekend.

So, readers, please get yourselves over to one of these signings. Get a copy of this beautiful book. Pick one up for a friend. It’s written in an elegantly simple style and would be most appropriate for a young teen. My Lucy is reading The Red Umbrella as I speak write.

Christina will be at:

SCBWI Annual Conference
July 28 – August 2nd
Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, July 31st at 6:30 pm
Vroman’s Bookstore
695 East Colorado Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

Sunday, August 1st at 2pm
Borders Bookstore
100 South Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91204
(818) 241-8099

Please go and meet the lovely Christina and and get yourself a copy of her beautiful book. Tell her Marta sent you.

Christina & me

I loved this book so much that I have procured two copies of The Red Umbrella to give away.

To be entered in the drawing, please click on this link and comment on the same  post over at MBFCF or right here on the Tiki Tiki. Answer one or both of the following questions:

  • Are you personally related to or do you know any Pedro Pans?
  • Is this the first time you’ve heard about the Pedro Pan exodus?

I’ll be choosing a winner on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 11 am Pacific Time.

By the way, one of the reasons this story impacted me so much…

My brother was a Pedro Pan.

(cross-posted at MBFCF)

Share, por favor!


  • Tracy says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard of the Pedro Pan exodus and I’m completely intrigued. (The book sounds really good.)

    My paternal grandmother is an Austrian Jew, and she was part of something similar called the “Kindertransport”. At the start of World War II, many Jewish parents became worried for their children and so they sent them off to live with unknown Christian foster families in England so that the children would avoid the concentration camps. I can’t imagine how scary such a situation would be for both parent and child.
    Tracy´s last [fabulousness] ..Mexican Tortas de Jamón

  • Cassy says:

    I had never heard of the Pedro Pan exodus before either. What a story. I will tell you here why I would love to win this book…

    My best friend Eli is from Cuba. She came to NJ when she was 4 yrs old, in ’72 or so. She has told me she remembers very little. When I visit with her, I love to talk with her mami who tells me what it was like back then, how difficult it was to leave family; one story that sticks out in particular is one where she tells me how she and her husband were separated for a long while so that he could work in the fields and she at a local school. They weren’t asked – they were told. Eli’s mom & dad, well they just about pour forth with both happy and sad stories of Cuba. I love to listen.

    My Eli sometimes shrugs this past aside, she’s not one for dwelling on past injustices. But every now and then, we talk about how things are in other countries because of where our students are from (we’re both bilingual teachers) and there is where I see the Cubanita come out, understanding, and remembering perhaps “como son las cosas”…
    Cassy´s last [fabulousness] ..Book Giveaway! Sisters- Strangers- and Starting Over

  • Kiki Bacaro says:

    I have several friends in my generation and slightly older who were a part of th Pedro Pan exodus. About half think it was the best idea ever, the other half suffered such trauma at being split from family and friends, not to mention some abuse that took place at their home of placement, that they don’t have much good to say about it. I think it probably has some to do with how their parents prepared them for the move. I met Christina when I went through your booth, Marta, and she was quite adorable:)

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melanie and Tiki Tiki Blog, Tiki Tiki Blog. Tiki Tiki Blog said: On the Tiki Tiki: The Red Umbrella – a giveaway. http://goo.gl/fb/ut0dW [...]

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