CHRISTINA DIAZ GONZALEZ made her literary debut with the much acclaimed The Red Umbrella. She lives in Florida with her husband and children.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2012: "An engrossing tale set against a compelling, seldom-seen backdrop." Publishers Weekly, December 21, 2012: "Gonzalez stages a fast-paced historical thriller against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War...Ani is relatable as she battles with her bitter mother and struggles to identify her own desires and values. 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." School Library Journal, January 2013: "This book provides a glimpse into an underrepresented world in juvenile literature, making it a good addition to middle-grade collections. Recommended it to fans of Roland Smith's Elephant Run." VOYA "The benefit of Gonzalez's novel is that the reader gets to experience Ani's thoughts and feelings firsthand...Ani's story shows the multiple layers of wreckage experienced during WWII, and would be an excellent addition to any Holocaust unit." From the Hardcover edition.
Gr 5-8-In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, 12-year-old Ani unexpectedly gets drawn into a network of underground rebels working to thwart Franco's efforts to destroy the Basque people's way of life. With the threat of Hitler and the Nazis also on the horizon, Ani and her half-German, half-Basque friend, Mathias, work together to deliver messages for the rebels, using Ani and her mother's sardine business as their cover. When Guernica is bombed and both children end up without parents to care for them, Mathias vows to return to Germany to fight the Nazis, while Ani's father (who is fighting Franco's army) sends her to England along with hundreds of other Basque children. Through the tragedy of war, Ani discovers true friendship and loyalty for the first time. While readers will find her clandestine activities exciting, there is little explanation provided about the Spanish Civil War. Students unfamiliar with Spain's struggles during this period might not understand the gravity of the Basque people's problem, or its connection to Hitler's rise in power. However, this book provides a glimpse into an underrepresented world in juvenile literature, making it a good addition to middle-grade collections. Recommended it to fans of Roland Smith's Elephant Run (Hyperion, 2007).-Nora G. Murphy, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, LaCanada-Flintridge, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.