My brigadista year by Katherine Paterson

Hi everyone, this week I’m reviewing a book that kept me engrossed from start to finish. This title is similar to the previous one in that it’s based on actual events that transpired in the previous century, but in another part of the world. So if this has piqued your interest, settle down for a read…

Young gril holding books and backpack in green shirt and pants walking on top of hill. behind her people in fields and green mountains with red swirl of sun on yellow sky. My Brigadista year in red letters above. Katherine Paterson in black font above that.
An engaging read

My title: My brigadista year

Author: Katherine Paterson

Genre: Fiction – historical

Publication details: Candlewick Press; Somerville, MASS, 2017

ISBN: 9780763695088  (Hardcover)

What this book is about: When the newly installed revolutionary premier, Fidel Castro, calls for an army of volunteer teachers to bring literacy to all of Cuba in just twelve months, thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to go. Although her parents initially fear for her safety, young Lora is determined and finds herself deep in a farming community, teaching and sharing what she knows. Inspired by the socially tumultuous and violent real-life events of 1961, internationally acclaimed and bestselling novelist Katherine Paterson creates a gripping account of a young Cuban girl’s coming-of-age in this story. Lora’s adventures, her determination and courage, will inspire contemporary readers to think about their own relationship to society, and how, even in youth, they can be powerful agents for change. 

My review: What an amazing story!! I had no idea that Castro had managed to bring Cuba’s literacy rate up from 60% to 96% in the span of a year in 1961, and that UN observers declared Cuba an “illiteracy-free” nation. What a great achievement!! The whole story, for me, spoke volumes on the reality of life in the rural areas: of hardships faced on the land; of fear of those that opposed Castro’s regime; and of the utmost courage and bravery of those ‘brigadistas’ who served. Young Lora’s voice spoke volumes in this richly described diary-fiction read as she described all around her and the relationships she formed with those around her. A really good read appropriate for older tweens and teens! Katherine Paterson has created another masterpiece in this lovely story!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

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