APB Exclusive Speaker Sonia Manzano Releases New Book, "Coming Up Cuban"
09 Aug 2022
Emmy Award winner and bestselling author Sonia Manzano examines the impact of the 1959 Cuban Revolution on four children from very different walks of life in her latest book—Coming Up Cuban: Rising Past Castro’s Shadow, which was released this week. This is the eighth book for Manzano, who is also an APB exclusive speaker and is best known as “Maria” from Sesame Street. It is published by Scholastic Press.
Set in 1959, the book shares the stories of Ana, Miguel, Zulema and Juan, who all learn to find a place for themselves in a world forever changed in the wake of a new regime in Cuba. In a tumultuous moment of history, we see the lasting effects of a revolution in Havana, the countryside, Miami and New York.
“Social upheavals affect everyone,” Manzano said in an interview with Publishers Weekly. “I wanted to write a novel that examined the impact the 1959 Cuban Revolution had on four children. Through these four separate life stories, I hope our readers see how interconnected we all are, regardless of any tumultuous times we might be living in.”
Coming Up Cuban was recently praised by Kirkus Reviews. “Through these young people’s experiences, the realities of Cubans’ lives are presented in nuanced and complex ways in this thoroughly researched work,” it says in the review.
For over 40 years, Manzano inspired, educated, and delighted children and families as "Maria" on Sesame Street. Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, Manzano broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television. Throughout her career, she has continued to contribute to enriching diversity on television, on the stage and in the educational realm. A first-generation Puerto Rican born on the mainland, Manzano’s tale is one of perseverance and courage as she overcame countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television.
After forty-four years she decided to retire from Sesame Street and author books. Her book titles include The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and a memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx (Scholastic). She's also penned three picture books with Simon and Schuster. Her last book called A World Together (National Geographic) promotes unity by celebrating cultural and generational diversity.
Manzano has created and developed with Fred Rogers Productions an animated children's program for PBS. Alma's Way premiered in Oct 2021.