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My Brigadista Year Teaching Guide

My Brigadista Year is a great coming-of-age novel about a girl who wants to make a difference in her home country of Cuba. Use our Teacher Discussion Guide to help initiate classroom discussion with the provided questions regarding character development, the importance of education and cultural differences between countries. Also included in our guide are activities that explore the Cuban culture more and the historical background of the novel.
Grade:
6 |
7 |
8 |
9
Themes:
History (5)

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Excerpted from

My Brigadista Year
Author: Katherine Paterson

When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro’s army of young literacy teachers, her mother screeches to high heaven, and her father roars like a lion. Nora has barely been outside of Havana — why would she throw away her life in a remote shack with no electricity, sleeping on a hammock in somebody’s kitchen? But Nora is stubborn: didn’t her parents teach her to share what she has with someone in need? Surprisingly, Nora’s abuela takes her side, even as she makes Nora promise to come home if things get too hard. But how will Nora know for sure when that time has come? Shining light on a little-known moment in history, Katherine Paterson traces a young teen’s coming-of-age journey from a sheltered life to a singular mission: teaching fellow Cubans of all ages to read and write, while helping with the work of their daily lives and sharing the dangers posed by counterrevolutionaries hiding in the hills nearby. Inspired by true accounts, the novel includes an author’s note and a timeline of Cuban history.

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