My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
First Published: October 10th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Cuba
In an engrossing historical novel, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia follows a young Cuban teenager as she volunteers for Fidel Castro’s national literacy campaign and travels into the impoverished countryside to teach others how to read.
I found this story to be much more engaging than BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA from the same author, a book that struggled to keep my attention.
Whereas MY BRIGADISTA YEAR had me at chapter one. It reads like a memoir. For me, this is a positive aspect, because I normally have an easy connection with characters that pour their hearts out on paper as though in a personal diary.
I really could feel Lora’s voice as she narrated her adventures as a brigadista and had no trouble imagining what it would be like to be in her place.
Lora is more courageous than she would be ready to admit. After all, no one forced her to be part of the Cuba Literacy Campaign. On the contrary, when she expresses wanting to go, her parents are shocked and immediately forbid her. She must fight for what she believes in.
The only negative comment I could make is that it does get somewhat repetitive, seeing that Lora’s job is to teach the illiterate how to read and write as well as help them with their daily tasks. I liked that it hinted at gender roles and issues of inequality between men and women, but that is not the focus.
A beautiful, inspiring story. Instructive without being history-heavy.
Follow me on: