A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket
by Deborah Hopkinson
Grades 4 & up
After an unfortunate incident in their small town in Italy, Rocco’s parents sell him to a Padrone, a man who will bring him to America in return for Rocco’s working for the Padrone for four years. What Rocco doesn’t know until he gets there is that the “work” is busking for money on street corners and living in dismal conditions. If the boys don’t bring in their dollar a day, they are beaten, starved, and/or locked out for the night. When Rocco meets a well-off pickpocket, he thinks things may have improved, but a series of poor choices leave him worse off than before. A freak spring blizzard and the kind-heartedness of strangers help to turn Rocco’s life around. This fast-paced adventure about immigrant life in 19th century New York City will fascinate readers and keep them on the edge of their seats. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.