cover image Coming Up Cuban: Rising Past Castro’s Shadow

Coming Up Cuban: Rising Past Castro’s Shadow

Sonia Manzano. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-338-06515-2

With insight and empathy, former Sesame Street actor Manzano (A World Together) explores the impact of Fidel Castro’s rise and revolution through the eyes of four young people building new lives amid a climate of political turmoil. In separate but overlapping sections, Ana, Miguel, Zulema, and Juan offer various perspectives on the turbulent political uprising, highlighting intersectional nuances around class and race. Ana’s segment concentrates on the revolution’s tail end in 1959 Havana, where her father has returned from fighting for Castro. Miguel details challenges for immigrants and refugees in 1961 Miami after he is sent into care while waiting for his parents. Zulema’s section, based in the Cuban countryside in 1961, delves into Castro’s literacy campaign, while Juan’s section considers youth radicalization in 1961 Havana through the lens of two friends. In stories that brim with love for Cuba while highlighting a difficult historical moment, Manzano employs graceful, straightforward prose, highlighting the experiences, and will, of Cuba’s people as they navigate the events’ fallout with alternating anguish and elation. Back matter includes a timeline of the book’s events and resources. Ages 9–12. (Aug.)