EL LECTOR by William Durbin


Age Range: 10 & up
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A poor girl with a gift for storytelling refuses to surrender when her dreams and her family are threatened by labor unrest and political corruption during the Depression. Thirteen-year-old Bella lives with her widowed mother and four siblings in the Cuban-American community of cigar workers in Ybor City, Fla. Bright and ambitious, Bella “always dreamed of being el lector, just like her Grandfather,” who is paid to read novels, political essays and union news to the workers as they roll cigars. But instead of going to high school, Bella takes a job at the cigar factory to help support her family. When her Aunt Lola is arrested with other cigar workers after a union meeting, and the lectores are removed from the factories and replaced by radios, Bella finds a way to preserve her family and her dream. Filled with the uneasy spirit of Ybor City in 1931 with its emerging unions and immigrant workers, Bella’s engaging story shows what can happen when people believe “in the power of stories to enlighten and transform.” (afterword) (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2006
ISBN: 0-385-74651-2
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2005


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