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Al Rivera

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  • Child abuse is beyond the realm of reasonable people, yet it happens far too often as we have shown you here on our show. How does a child process abuse? What gives a child the courage to face daily humiliation, pain, and suffering? The damage for many children is beyond repair, and often opens up a lifetime of heartache and shame.

    As a child, our next guest, author Al Rivera whose book “the Barefoot Shoeshine Boy” shows us how he endured the daily verbal and physical abuse of the one person who should have showered him with love: his mother, and from foster parents who took her place in raising him until he was eighteen. 

    Al Rivera lives and manages his masonry business in Phoenix, Arizona. The Barefoot Shoeshine Boy is his first book.

    For their first book, Al Rivera and his ghostwriter, Susan Giffin, became the proud recipients of the 2009 Reader Views Literary Award in the non-fiction, multicultural division.

    Despite daily abuse, however, Al Rivera faced each new day with a smile and with the excitement of a schoolboy counting the minutes until recess. Yet, Al was not a schoolboy when he found his joy. He was a barefoot shoeshine boy, from the age of four to eight, walking miles every day to find customers on city streets.

    Downtown Phoenix, Arizona became Al Rivera’s playground, his source of happiness, where life was as real as the dumpster food that kept him alive. Al’s daily search for food was just another game to him.

    Yet, unlike many children who grow up on the streets, Al Rivera overcame all odds to excel in school, sports, and business. He became the Number One minority masonry business in Arizona. His successful climb to the top is the subject of his next book.

    he Barefoot Shoeshine Boy will touch your heart like no other book. Its stories of a young boy’s triumph over abuse and adversity will inspire, and its little chapter lessons will offer insights into the power of the human spirit to survive.

    In Al Rivera’s young world, there were no dream weavers, no teachers, and no readers who introduced him to bigger and better worlds outside his own abject poverty. No one taught him how to rise above abuse and adversity. No one challenged him to set his sights higher than his grim existence. No one told him that working hard and dumpster diving couldn’t be fun, so that is exactly what he made it. Fun.

    In Al’s world – the real world – there was actually no room for dreaming. Every Monday through Friday, year-round, at a tender age, he worked the downtown streets of Phoenix, Arizona, hustling customers for shoe shines, often returning home after dark. The city streets provided Al with his daily dose of happiness, something he rarely found at home.

    Al received no food at home; only a watery sweet drink his mother gave him before dismissing him from her sight. Of her 13 children, she singled him out for abuse, both verbal and physical, just as her mother had done to her. He lived on dumpster food, soup kitchen hand-outs, and an occasional treat that he stole or found in an occasional escape to the local movie theatre.

    While one might expect that eventually this little hard-working boy from the poor barrios would end up on drugs or in prison, Al Rivera used his God-given instincts to strive for a better life. He excelled in school and sports, and eventually became the owner of a leading, award-winning masonry company.

    This book is a page-turner, one that grips your attention and your heart and won’t let go.

  • Click here to visit author's website