Review Blog

Feb 16 2018

My brigadista year by Katherine Paterson

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Candlewick, 2018. ISBN 9780763695088
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. "When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro's army of young literacy teachers, her mother screeches to high heaven, and her father roars like a lion. Lora has barely been outside of Havana - why would she throw away her life in a remote shack with no electricity, sleeping on a hammock in somebody's kitchen? But Lora is stubborn: didn't her parents teach her to share what she has with someone in need? Surprisingly, Lora's abuela takes her side, even as she makes Lora promise to come home if things get too hard. But how will Lora know for sure when that time has come?" (Publisher)
I absolutely loved this book by award winning author, Katherine Paterson. It gave me a wonderful insight into a time in Cuba's history that I had no idea about. Many countries could take a leaf out of this plan in current times. Many teenagers during this time volunteered to teach fellow Cubans of all ages to read and write, while participating in their daily lives. There was the ever-constant threat and dangers from the counterrevolutionaries hiding in nearby hills. The author's notes and timeline at the back of the book, outlining this period in history is a great source of information. This book was an easy read, with quite large text. Themes such as hardship, bravery, friendship and perseverance are evident throughout the book. It would make a fantastic read aloud and provide great learning activities about perspective and responsibility. A must have for the library.
Kathryn Schumacher

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