Sonia Manzano

Coming Up Cuban

Sonia Manzano: Coming Up Cuban
Sonia Manzano

After listening to these stories, do what I did when I wrote them – put yourselves in another person’s shoes.

Artist’s Note

“I’m so glad for the opportunity to share from my upcoming book Coming Up Cuban. It is a fictional account of what might have happened to four young people whose lives are upended by the Cuban Revolution. The four main characters are Ana (the daughter of a revolutionary), Miguel (a privileged boy), Zulema (an illiterate guajira, or peasant girl), and Juan (a poor Afro-Cubano). Their stories provide a window into how the Revolution affected young people in Cuba, and how they were able to persist.

“Listeners should know that I am not Cuban. I am Puerto Rican. But I put myself in the shoes of kids in my sister Caribbean Island, which is what I hope readers of this book do – put themselves in other people’s shoes. Doing so is a way to understand ourselves and connect with the people around us.”

About the Artist

Sonia Manzano, a member of the Commission on the Arts, is an actress and author. In addition to being Maria on Sesame Street, she has garnered 15 Emmys for writing television scripts, written critically praised books for children and young adults, and received awards that include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education.


Sonia Manzano

Actress and Author
Commission Member

Additional Notes

Excerpt from COMING UP CUBAN: RISING PAST CASTRO’S SHADOW by Sonia Manzano. Copyright © 2022 by Sonia Manzano. Excerpted by permission of Scholastic. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 

Commission on the Arts

The Commission - drawing on the expertise of its members who are artists, scholars, activists, and leaders, as well as the input of people across the country who participated in listening sessions - dedicated itself to recognizing and supporting the essential role of the arts and artists in American life.