My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson (2017, Candlewick; 160 pages)
This is a book inspired by the socially tumultuous and violent real-life events of 1961 in Cuba and it is a coming-of-age story of a girl named Lora.
The book is historical fiction, narrating the adventures of Lora when she decides to join an army of volunteer teachers to bring literacy to all of Cuba in just twelve months. Lora, 13 years old at the time, tells her parents that she wants to travel into the impoverished countryside to help teach her fellow Cubans how to read and write. Her parents are unhappy with the decision, since Lora has barely been outside of Havana, but the girl is determined, and doesn't mind the idea of surviving in a remote shack with no electricity and sleeping in a hammock. She is an idealist, and she wants to share with people in need.
I loved this book, which came to me as an advance copy (the publication date is Oct. 10, 2017). Lora's adventures, her persona, her determination and courage are inspiring. Recommended to young readers who would love to be powerful agents for change. A beautiful book.
Recommended by: Maite