The Streets are Freeby Kurusa, Monika Doppert (Illustrator)
This inspiring book is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San Jose de la Urbina in Caracas, Venezuela. There are no parks where they live, and the children must play in the streets. They ask the mayor for an empty lot to build a playground, but all they get are campaign promises. They know that they are the only ones who will make something
This inspiring book is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San Jose de la Urbina in Caracas, Venezuela. There are no parks where they live, and the children must play in the streets. They ask the mayor for an empty lot to build a playground, but all they get are campaign promises. They know that they are the only ones who will make something happen, so they get their friends and family involved until the whole barrio unites to create a space of their own.
Read an Excerpt
In the 1920s, when Venezuela began to export oil instead of coffee, people from the farms moved into the city. At first they were few, but in the '50s thousands came from the towns and villages to live in big cities like Caracas and Maracaibo.
The cities were not ready to receive these new inhabitants. There were no houses for them, no waterworks, no sewers, no electricity. And, even worse, there was not enough work for all. Many of them stayed on the outskirts of the cities in cramped shacks, uncomfortable and miserable. Sometimes they had to fight to keep their empty lots.
In Caracas, the people coming from the rural areas occupied the hills surrounding the city, hoping that someday they would live in the valley below, without the fear of landslides, with enough drinking water, without the smell of sewers and garbage. But most of them stayed there. And each year more people came. Today, almost half of the population of Caracas lives in these "barrios."
The Streets are Free is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San José de la Urbina, who wanted a place to play. They still don't have it, but continue dreaming and fighting for their playground.
Meet the Author
Founded in 1975, Annick Press is a leading Canadian publisher of books for children of all ages. Best known as the publisher of Robert Munsch's classic picture books, Annick has expanded its publishing program to include cutting edge books for young adults and innovative non-fiction. Annick's epithet of "Excellence and Innovation in Children's Literature, " stands behind every book they publish.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book is absolutely amazing. First of all, the pictures are beyond gorgeous. I used to look at them for ages when I was a kid. There's so much happening in them, the colors are so lush, and most of all I thought they captured the spirit of the individual characters quite well. The illustrator deserves commendation. The story itself is wonderful. In a small space, without a hint of pedantry, it covers 'issues' like urbanization, pollution, community, formal politics, and activism. While being a heartening, optimistic story about community and what people can accomplish together, the book also manages to be healthily skeptical about politicians. The basic story is that the kids want a playground. After making a big fuss at city hall (and being mistreated in the process), the story becomes a public relations issue for the mayor, so he promises them a playground--and proceeds to do nothing as the newspaper story winds down. Eventually, the kids and parents take action into their own hands and--after doubting themselves--get a wonderful playground together through their collective action. This retelling can't do justice to the book because it loses all the flavor of what is really a lovely story. I've loved this book since I was very small (for the record, I'm 20 now and I still read kids' books!).