"In small and medium Argentine cities," says Silvana Goldemberg, "everyday there are at least ten kids, teens and mothers knocking your door asking for food. My mom was a teacher of those children and we used to have the door open with a basket full of fruits for these kids to serve by themselves."

Born (in 1963) and raised in Argentina, Silvana Goldemberg of Richmond has consequently written a realistic, Latin American equivalent to Shaw's Pygmalion, Victoria (Tradewind 2013 $12.95), set in the crime-ridden streets of Paraná in Buenos Aires.

Instead of being saved by a man, fifteen-year-old Victoria must save herself, overcoming grim poverty and rampant violence by eking out a living selling flowers in nightclubs and cleaning cafes--if she's lucky.

"The characters of my book are based on real people," says Goldemberg, "and I want children in Canada, the US and UK to get to know them. I grew up very close to kids with lives like Victoria's."

Victoria is the sole provider for her younger, twin brothers. With determination and the friendship of her cousin who is a pop singer named Betina, Victoria ultimately overcomes the odds and forges a healthy romance with a budding, teenage soccer player, Andrés.

Victoria has been translated by Emilie Smith, also born in 1963 in South America. Smith was working as a minister in New Westminster when she was contacted by publisher Michael Katz to translate Goldemberg's Spanish text to English. [Photo by Murielle Faifman] 978-1-896580-95-1

[BCBW 2013]