Thirteen-year-old Bella wants to be a lector just like her grandfather, who sits on a special platform in the cigar factory, reading great novels, the newspaper, and union news to workers as they roll the cigars. Being a lector is an important role in their immigrant community. But the hard times of the Depression mean that Bella must go to work in the factory; her hope of getting the education a lector needs seems impossible. Meanwhile, the factory workers and owners clash. People lose jobs, innocent workers are arrested, and the Ku Klux Klan prowls the area. And then there are those amazing new radios showing up all over town. Could the radio take the place of the lector? Bella must decide her own future and help her people preserve their history.