< Christina Gonzalez - powerful fiction about love, family and finding your way home
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In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.

As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

Based on the real events of Operation Pedro Pan where over 14,000 Cuban children were sent to the U.S. in the two year period between 1960-1962, this novel depicts the pain of losing one’s homeland and showcases the generosity of the American spirit.

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A Top Ten Indie Next List Book!
2011 Best Fiction For Young Adults

Gonzalez enters the literary scene with this exceptional historical novel – Kirkus Reviews

Christina Diaz Gonzalez captures the fervor, uncertainty and fear of the times through Lucía's first-person perspective and the newspaper headlines that begin each chapter…a compelling first novel. – Washington Post

Debut author Gonzalez excels at highlighting the cultural difficulties… memorable heroine and supporting cast offer a moving portrait of resilience and reinvention – Publisher’s Weekly

An insightful window into the aspect of recent history known as Pedro Pan – Denver Post

Gonzalez deals effectively with separation, culture shock, homesickness, uncertainty and identity as she captures what is also a grand adventure - resilient kids taking to a new way of life. – San Francisco Chronicle

Well-written novel has a thoroughly believable protagonist and well-chosen period details… it could generate some excellent classroom discussions - School Library Journal

Through the eyes of (the) likable young narrator, readers will understand a compelling part of history. Kudos to Christina Diaz Gonzalez for sharing her family’s story, and for telling it so well. – Christian Science Monitor


Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he's been off fighting in Spain's Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he's as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias's father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She's actually making a difference in the world.

And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, and more. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.


A fast paced thriller (set) against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. Gonzalez escalates the tension as Nazis bomb Guernica and conveys the magnitude of personal and universal loss, leading Ani to forge a future in war—a path she claims with grace and fortitude. – Publisher’s Weekly

An engrossing tale set against a compelling, seldom-seen backdrop. – Kirkus Review

This book provides a glimpse into an underrepresented world in juvenile literature, making it a good addition to middle-grade collections. – School Library Journal

Ani’s story shows the multiple layers of wreckage during WWII, and would be an excellent addition to any Holocaust unit. – VOYA

This painterly novel offers an intimate, immediate look at the Spanish Civil War and the depths of personal strength necessary to survive. – Booklist