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The Streets Are Free (1981)

by Kurusa

Other authors: Monika Doppert (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1393193,643 (4.27)None
"This inspiring book is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San José 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."… (more)
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Cheo, Carlitos and Camila lived in the barrio neighborhood of San José de la Urbina, on the heights above the city of Caracas. Like children everywhere, they liked to play. Unfortunately, the crowded conditions in their neighborhood meant there really wasn't a safe and pleasant place for them to do so. Inspired by their local librarian, the children marched to City Hall, to ask the mayor to provide them with a playground. When that didn't produce much, the community itself got involved...

Originally published in 1981 in Venezuela as La Calle es Libre, this engaging story features a group of children who attempt to solve a serious problem in their lives, getting active in adult politics and community organizing in the process. Apparently Kurusa's narrative is based upon a true story, although her foreword mentions that the real children of San José de la Urbina never succeeded in getting their playground, despite all their efforts. That reality gives the story here added poignancy, I thought. The text here is rather long for a picture-book, so I'd describe The Streets Are Free more as an illustrated short story. I've been hearing about this one for a while, so I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to read it. Recommended to anyone looking for children's stories set in Venezuela, or that highlight issues of poverty and activism. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 23, 2017 |
Inspiring story of kids living in a poor barrio of Caracas who demand a park where they can safely play. The local librarian plays an important role! Monika Doppert does an amazing job depicting the diversity of Venezuela. She also adds so much characterization with the expressions on people's faces. ( )
  LFDuncan | Nov 25, 2013 |
This delightful and empowering book is my favorite storybook in my extensive multicultural library that I've grown over the decades for my innercity classroom. It tells the true Venezuelan story of children who, with the help of the librarian, organize themselves a play space. Remarkably, it relates the two needed strands of organizing: pressuring the government (or other power structure) to do its job, and bringing the community together to do what the government can't. ( )
  cflpeace | May 2, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurusaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Doppert, MonikaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Englander, KarenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"This inspiring book is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San José 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."

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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.
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Annick Press

An edition of this book was published by Annick Press.

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