My Brigadista Year

Publisher: Walker Books

Review

In post-revolutionary Cuba, 13-year-old Lora volunteers to spend a year in the mountains teaching an illiterate family how to read and write. Full of enthusiasm and inspired by noble sentiments and a charismatic leader, Lora can’t wait to begin her adventure.

But the mountains and remote communities in which volunteers work are also home to vicious bandidos who oppose the communist revolutionaries and will stop at nothing, even murder, to sabotage their plans.

Can even the most committed young girl cope with the constant threat of violence? And can she persuade grizzled country farmers that what she has to teach is worth learning?

Based on the true experiences of those involved in Fidel Castro’s universal literacy programme, which aimed to bring literacy to all of Cuba in just 12 months, this is a fascinating look at a period of recent world history seen through the eyes of an idealistic young woman. A vivid portrayal of the value of education in empowering even the poorest people.

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