My Brigadista Year

My Brigadista Year

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.When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro's army of young literacy teach...

DownloadRead Online
Title:My Brigadista Year
Author:Katherine Paterson
Rating:
Edition Language:English

My Brigadista Year Reviews

  • Brenda

    My Brigadista Year, tells the story of 13-year old Lora who volunteers to join a governmental army of literacy teachers tasked with teaching its citizens to read and write in Havana Cuba during the 1960's. Before Lora could enlist, she had to get her parents to sign a permission slip, which they were very hesitant to do. As the eldest of three siblings, Lora was partially responsible for watching over the younger children and her parents were concerned for

    My Brigadista Year, tells the story of 13-year old Lora who volunteers to join a governmental army of literacy teachers tasked with teaching its citizens to read and write in Havana Cuba during the 1960's. Before Lora could enlist, she had to get her parents to sign a permission slip, which they were very hesitant to do. As the eldest of three siblings, Lora was partially responsible for watching over the younger children and her parents were concerned for her safety. As the only girl in the family, Lora's mother also wanted her daughter to be more "ladylike," a role that Lora wasn't eager to take. Lora's Abuela was the only one who seemed to understand her desire to want to feel useful and more like an adult, so she was instrumental in getting her father to agree to sign Lora's permission form. The story chronicles Lora's initial training as a Brigadista or literacy teacher at the Varadero Training Camp, transfer to her host family in the mountains, and subsequent tasks of educating them to be able to read and write so they can pass a competency exam. At the same time, it highlighted the dangerous counter-revolutionaries that were going on across the country and the fighters that were hiding within the same mountains as Lora and who were promising to kill any Brigadista's that they found.

    From the author's note, Paterson relates how My Brigadista is a fictional memoir but based on her own extensive research into the history of a major literacy campaign in Havana Cuba which ran from January 28th, 1961 through December 22nd. This was a very interesting look at a time period of which I knew very little about and having the author note and time line for Cuba's history at the back of the book came in handy. Having never taught before, Lora received training and I found the details about the textbooks they used and the manner in which they were to address their students very interesting. Specifically, that they used a book called "We Shall Overcome" and how it featured pictures matched with the words that were relevant to their students daily life or ones that were felt to be important for rebuilding their nation. According to the authors note, many of these volunteer teachers were young girls, between the age of ten to nineteen who volunteered to leave the city and live in the mountains, working side by side with their host families in the field or doing housework, so that they could develop a rapport to be able to teach them to read and write. And they were successful in raising the national literacy rate in only a years time. Overall, this was a fascinating, uplifting memoir and a very nice coming of age story. I'm hoping there will also be a teachers guide for My Brigadista Year because it would make for an interesting historical fiction companion novel to a unit on Cuba, specifically the lesser known literacy campaign that Fidel Castro instituted. Students could also further explore the Cuban revolution and discuss differing views of Fidel Castro's leadership of Cuba.

    * In exchange for an honest review, a review copy was received from the publisher.*

  • Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)

    I really enjoyed this. This is nicely paced historical fiction about the literacy campaign in Cuba in the 1960's. It's told from the perspective of a 14 year old girl who volunteers as a teacher for the campaign.

    Parents and teachers will love the historical notes at the end of the book as well as the listed source material.

    Kids will love that it's an adventure story that moves along nicely with enough suspense to hopefully keep kids reading. I really enjoyed reading more fiction based on Cuban

    I really enjoyed this. This is nicely paced historical fiction about the literacy campaign in Cuba in the 1960's. It's told from the perspective of a 14 year old girl who volunteers as a teacher for the campaign.

    Parents and teachers will love the historical notes at the end of the book as well as the listed source material.

    Kids will love that it's an adventure story that moves along nicely with enough suspense to hopefully keep kids reading. I really enjoyed reading more fiction based on Cuban history, my first exposure being "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao". Though there is some overlap in timelines, I do not remember the literacy campaign being mentioned in that book, so, it was all new to me.

    There is some violence in the book but it isn't described, it's just reported. There is no romance really in the book other than a friend of the main character has a crush on a boy which doesn't seem to be reciprocated. I never realized that having lighter skin was important in some sectors of Cuban culture until I read Oscar Wao. That also appears here, but, briefly.

    The only thing that gives me any pause is that Katherine Paterson is not Cuban. I could not find any complaints about inaccuracies in this book, so, for now I'm overlooking that.. lol

    Overall, I definitely recommend this to kids who enjoy historical fiction and adults who like reading juvenile fiction.

  • Sue

    How does Katherine Paterson do this at 85??...continue to write fascinating stories... and I have to give it four stars as the main character becomes a brigadista for literacy!! some political Cuban history along with a good plot..

  • LauraW

    Excellent read and good view of history. I grew up during the Cuban missile crisis and it is interesting to me to see the other side of the story. This story does not focus on that, but there is a good timeline at the end of the book that goes into a bit more detail about the actual historical events. The focus of this story is the literacy campaign - and the methods used for its success. It is also a coming of age story, which seems to be a favorite theme for me.

  • Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Netgalley

    Lora's family is poor, but has a decent life in Havana in the late 1950s. Lora wants desperately to go to a better school, but her parents don't have money to send her. Her abuela, who is very forward thinking, offers Lora jewelry that she was saving for her and says she may sell it and use the money for school. Lora does. When she is 13, Lora decides to join the Literacy Brigadistas, which was an idea of Fidel Castro's to raise the literacy rate and help the poorer, less edu

    E ARC from Netgalley

    Lora's family is poor, but has a decent life in Havana in the late 1950s. Lora wants desperately to go to a better school, but her parents don't have money to send her. Her abuela, who is very forward thinking, offers Lora jewelry that she was saving for her and says she may sell it and use the money for school. Lora does. When she is 13, Lora decides to join the Literacy Brigadistas, which was an idea of Fidel Castro's to raise the literacy rate and help the poorer, less educated people understand concepts in his new government. The Brigadistas, who were often very young and female, were given brief training on how to teach reading and then sent out into remote areas of the country to live and work with families while teaching them to read. They were given hammocks, since the families wouldn't have extra beds, lanterns so that people could learn after their day of working on the farm, and instruction in basic agricultural practice so that they could help on the farms. Lora ends up living with Luis and Veronica, who have three small children, and is also in charge of educating the nearby family. While the women were pleased to learn to read, the men often did not want to learn from young girls. Lora enjoys being with the family and learning of their hardships, but the atmosphere in Cuba is very tense, and the brigadistas are fearful that the resistance will attack them. After making sure that her students all pass their exams, Lora returns to her family, and the experience has a profound effect on her life.

    Strengths: I've had several students with Cuban backgrounds who are very interested in reading stories like The Red Umbrella or 90 Miles to Havana. I had never heard of this initiative, and found it interesting that even with a higher literacy rate than other countries, Cuba thought that this was important enough to pursue, and that the country's literacy rate went up from 60% to 96%. The book concentrated more on the positives of teaching people to read, and Lora learned things from the family as well. There are extensive notes in the back of the book about the research, as well as a helpful time line.

    Weaknesses: My gut reaction is that some Cubans might not agree with this portrayal, but I just don't have the background in this area of the world to tell whether or not this is a novel representative of the feelings of Cuban's at this time. I am going to read more reviews before I purchase, just to make sure. As I said, it seems that Paterson covered all of her bases, and Lora isn't at all condescending to her students, but I don't have the background to judge competently.

    What I really think: I wish the cover incorporated some of the period photographs of brigadistas, so it would be very clear that this was a historical novel. Something about the illustration makes me think that this was published in the 1990s.

  • Lola  Reviewer

    3.5 stars. 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 wo

    3.5 stars. 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.

    |

    |

    |

    |

    |

  • Kate Olson

    I skimmed this for acquisition purposes pre-release and my impression is that it may make a great read aloud or book club pick for middle school, but will definitely need adult support for the majority of readers. It is very history-heavy and those without background knowledge of Cuba and its history will struggle to place the story in context. That's not saying it's not a quality book, but it's not going to be a fly-off-the-shelves kid favorite like BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. It's very much a "teach

    I skimmed this for acquisition purposes pre-release and my impression is that it may make a great read aloud or book club pick for middle school, but will definitely need adult support for the majority of readers. It is very history-heavy and those without background knowledge of Cuba and its history will struggle to place the story in context. That's not saying it's not a quality book, but it's not going to be a fly-off-the-shelves kid favorite like BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. It's very much a "teaching" or issue book.

WISE BOOK is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2017 WISE BOOK - All rights reserved.