red glass

About Red Glass

One night Sophie, her mother, and her stepfather are called to a hospital, where Pablo, a five-year-old Mexican boy, is recovering from dehydration. Pablo was carrying the business card of Sophie's step-father - but he doesn't recognize the boy. Crossing the border into Arizona with seven other Mexicans and a coyote, or guide, Pablo and his parents faced such harsh conditions that the boy is the only survivor. Pablo comes to live with Sophie, her parents, and Sophie's aunt Dika, a refugee from the war in Bosnia. Sophie loves Pablo - her Principito, or Little Prince - but after a year, Sophie's parents are able to contact Pablo's extended family in Mexico, and Sophie, Dika, and Dika's new boyfriend and his son must travel with Pablo to his hometown so that he can make a heart-wrenching decision.

Sophie has always been afraid of everything - car wrecks, cancer, becoming an orphan herself. But traveling with Dika, Pablo, Mr. Lorenzo, and Angel - people who have suffered losses beyond Sophie's imagining - changes her perception of danger. Sophie feels a strong connection to Ángel, but she fears losing him almost as much as she enjoys their time together. When a tragic event forces Sophie to take a dangerous journey, she recognizes that life is beautiful even in the midst of death - and that love is worth the risk of losing.

Ages 10 and up. Delacorte/ Random House. Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle available now.

Excerpt from Red Glass

Even before the boy appeared, I thought about the people crossing the desert. I imagined how scrub brush scratched their legs as they walked at night, how the sun dried out their eyes during the day, how their hearts pounded when they threw their bodies to the ground, hiding from la migra. I imagined them pressing their cheeks against the dust, thinking about the happy life they would have if only they reached the end of this desert.

My Inspiration for Red Glass

Red Glass was inspired by over ten years of friendships with ESL students, immigrants, and refugees who shared their stories with me and showed me how a person can live a meaningful, joyful life despite past traumas and losses. I love the human connections that form between people of vastly different cultures and backgrounds-not only bonds people have formed with me, but bonds my immigrant friends form with each other.

In Red Glass, I tried to slip inside the minds and hearts and bodies of each of my characters and explore these connections-to explore how it feels to risk opening yourself up to love and friendship after losing so much.

As the immigration debate rages in the United States, I think it's important to let empathy and compassion guide us. How can we make laws and walls without truly understanding how it feels to be in another person's shoes? I think we need to dare to cross borders and boundaries-real or imagined-- and let ourselves make real, human connections.

[ More about writing Red Glass ]


Iowa Teen Award nominee 2011-2012

A Read On, Wisconsin selection

Ohio James Cook Book Award Honorable Book

2009-2010 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Nominee

2009-2010 Nebraska Golden Sower Young Adult Award nominee

2008 Colorado Book Award Winner in the Young Adult category.

Oprah's Kids' Reading List!

2009 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee (chosen by the kids of Kentucky)

Américas Award Winner

International Reading Association (IRA) Young Adult Fiction Award Winner

Cooperative Children's Book Center's (CCBC) Choice List 2008

Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up Award Nominee

Richie's Picks Best of 2007

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2007

2008-2009 Texas Tayshas Reading List (from the Young Adult Round Table of the Texas Library Association) --Tayshas Lists

Cybils Award Finalist (The Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Award) --the cybils blog

A Best Book for Young Adults 2008

Featured as a recommended book in Girls' Life Magazine, October 2007.

Reviews and Recognition

Publishers' Weekly Starred Review, Featured Book on PW's Children's Bookshelf, Oct 4 2007

Suffused with the region's vibrant colors, Resau's (What the Moon Saw) memorable novel deftly blends Latin America's richness and mystery with the brutal realities its emigrants carry away... The prose captivates from the first chapter... Central themes of fear and emotional survival permeate the multilayered plot... A mystical overlay from the practices of Pablo's Mixtec relatives adds even more luster to a vibrant, large-hearted story.

Starred Review from School Library Journal, 2007

The author's love for the culture and physical setting of rural Oaxaca and northern Guatemala is shown in beautiful, descriptive detail. Rich, poetic language, elements of the hero quest story pattern, and quotations from St. Exupéry's The Little Prince are braided through this coming-of-age romance as Sophie grows from amorphous onlooker into a strong, risk-taking young woman. Secondary characters, especially the 60-year-old Dika and her "boyfriend," Mr. Lorenzo, are well developed. Readers will sympathize with Pablo and agonize as he chooses whether to stay in Mexico or return to Sophie's family in Arizona . The satisfying love stories and moving glimpse of the immigrant experience make this a captivating read.

--Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University , MD

ALA Booklist Starred Review, 2007

The author of What the Moon Saw (2006), Resau works her magic again in this compelling first-person narrative. Full of longing and trepidation, Sophie is limited at the beginning of the story. But as she travels and comes to understand people better; life-altering perspectives awaken a newfound courage. Late in the novel, magical elements and coincidence demand suspension of disbelief; but many readers will be willing to follow Sophie's story wherever it leads. The vivid characters, the fine imagery, and the satisfying story arc make this a rewarding novel.

--Carolyn Phelan

Kirkus Reviews, 2007

The characters are so compelling and sympathetic that the reader really cares how they all fare. Emotionally charged and powerful.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Oct 2007

Resau, who capably treats the topic of self-discovery in her first novel, What The Moon Saw, continues along similar lines here, with poignant descriptions of illegal border crossings and guerilla warfare providing a substantive background for the foreground story of coming into one's own and joining the larger organism that is one's family. The book is strengthened by a core of storytelling and intertextuality (Angel tells personal narratives in the car, Sophie reads aloud from Pablo Neruda and e.e. cummings, and each of seven parts is prefaced by a passage from The Little Prince) and suspense (which family will Pablo choose? How will Sophie overcome her fears?). An unexpectedly empowering moment that has Sophie laughing in the face of a filthy washroom is truly liberating and uplifting, and her new fearlessness should prove bolstering for readers who are on their way to discovering their own inner chispa, or spark.

Review from VOYA, August 2007

5Q-highest rating, "hard to imagine it being better written"

4P-"broad general or genre YA appeal"

The characters in this book are all delightful. They are warm and real, with varying degrees of unconventional... The are quite different from each other, but still they connect... The reader becomes very close to them... The themes of civil violence, a desire to better one's life, and the dilemma of how to do it-legally or illegally-make it a great book for class discussions on current events... The writing is so rich that it would also be a great read-aloud.

--Susan Allen

Online, Author, and Newspaper Reviews

Teens Read Too
Rating: 5 Stars *Gold Star*

Laura Resau's RED GLASS was an amazing read. It's a wonderful mixture of excerpts from Antoine de Saint-Exup...ry's The Little Prince, eccentric people, political unrest, and magical fortunes folded into a cross-continental summer road trip. ...I loved this book. One of the things that was really well done was how it was multi-cultural without being culturally exclusive. Even though some of the dialogue was written in Spanish, it was still easy to read. But the best part of the book was its characters. They are both hilarious and tragic, but never melodramatic. At times, I felt as if author Laura Resau was in my head. Teens will identify with Sophie as one of their own.

Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book: a reading resource for kids, teachers, libraians, and parents

Sophie's family is made memorable by Laura Resau's well-wrought use of descriptive language... Red Glass is beautifully written and quite emotionally moving in many places... The plight of immigrants in the United States is something we hear about on a daily basis on TV and read about in the newspapers, so there's an immediacy and freshness to Red Glass that's lacking in many books for children and teens. The various plot lines are skillfully woven as well, and you'll care about the lives of each of the main characters... Red Glass is highly recommended to readers of all ages.

--Douglas R. Cobb, 2007, Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book

Chicago Parent

This story is so wonderfully written, the scenery and the people are absolutely beautiful.

--Sandi Pedersen, Chicago Parent

I drank up RED GLASS in two nights. Resau's novel is a touching journey-story set in Arizona, Mexico, and Guatemala... Sophie's story encourages us not only to appreciate the familiar qualities we find in others, but to embrace the differences that might normally keep us apart. Red Glass is carefully crafted--beautiful and very sharp.

Despite the shacks and outhouses, Laura Resau somehow doesn't make Pablo's village seem quaint and primitive. She's been there, and it shows - the place feels real, not like some Disneyfied Mexico-land. Mostly though, I loved the characters. Little Pablo and crazy, exuberant Dika in particular. They're an odd, perhaps far-fetched group, but they're awfully endearing. Don't let them slip by you.

...Red Glass is a different sort of book--it is an Epic Journey, into wonderful, scary new places (very well described), where ghosts from the past and present dangers must be confronted (don't leave the path to see the beautiful flowers more closely, warns one character. There are land mines)... This is a great book for providing information and provoking thought about immigration, Mexico, and Guatemala... I liked Sophie's introspection, and I liked the budding romance between her and Angel, which was tender and suitable for all ages... [Red Glass] pays re-reading. The second time through I found myself finding still more images and metaphors to ponder. And I liked the characters as people so much that it was a pleasure to spend more time with them.

The details of life in a Mexican village and Sophie's journey from Tucson to Guatemala are vivid and memorable. Great characterization, good plot, and a unique setting spiced with love make this a winner.

If there is a book that will provide adolescents with some amazing big-picture food for thought at a time when our elected representatives in Washington, DC are debating what to do in reaction to the presence of millions of undocumented men, women, and children within our national borders, the amazing and heart-stopping RED GLASS is that book. . . RED GLASS will certainly add fuel to the debate over who and why and how many people desiring to come here should be permitted into America, and whether or not we should be building giant walls along our borders.

--Richie Partington, Librarian, MLIS, Richie's Picks

This book...I don't even know how to write about how much I loved this book. It's a book about immigration, about survival, about opening your heart, taking risks, and family - the kind with blood ties and the ones that we create along the way. I fell in love with every single character. Seriously, every character is so perfectly written I don't think I could pick a favorite. . . It is beautifully written, the characters are all well developed, there is personal growth, not only for our main character. Everyone changes, grows, evolves. Just like real life. I can't recommend this book enough.

--Patti, Librarian, Austin, Texas, May 2007, Oops... Wrong Cookie

For more online and blogger reviews, please see the links on the sidebar of my blog.

Interviews and Articles

Rocky Mountain Chapter of the SCBWI, Feb. 2008.

Member profile in the Kitetales newsletter. Scroll to page 8.

Washington Parent Magazine, Dec. 2007

Crossing the Border with Laura Resau's Red Glass: Step into a dynamic novel that uniquely blends self-discovery with society's underlying immigration tensions. --by Melissa Mercer, Washington Parent

Rocky Mountain Chronicle, Sept. 2007

Travel Makes the World Go 'Round: Global experiences inspire one local young-adult author to craft worldly characters. --by Laura Katers, Rocky Mountain Chronicle

Readergirlz Featured Book, May 2009

Readergirlz interview with playlist, book club party ideas, and more!