Author: Kathleen Krull
Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Summary: At the age of 10, Cesar’s family had to migrate to California in search of farm work after being displaced from their ranch in Arizona due to a severe drought which resulted in their inability to pay their bills. Cesar quits school after the eighth grade to work on the farms and help support his family. The working conditions on these farms were harsh and poor with low wages. Cesar feels that the workers are being treated as less than human. When he could no longer tolerate the conditions, he organizes the first National Farm Workers Association and in a non-violent protest he fought for justice. He organized a strike and a non-violent march from Delano to Sacramento the capital, a total of 340 miles to ask for government help. As a result of the march, Cesar’s protest against the grape company became well publicized. The National Farm Workers Association was recognized and a promise of better pay and working conditions was the result. Cesar celebrates this victory but he states that “it is well to remember that there must be courage but that in victory there must be humility.”
Literary elements at work in the story:
Genre: Picture book partial biography of a Mexican American Cesar Chavez
Setting: Inhumane working conditions on the grape farms in California during the life of Cesar Chavez
Characterization: Cesar Chavez portrays courage, determination and hope of changing the inhumane conditions in which the farm workers had to work. He organized the first farm workers union.
Plot: The author gives a chronological account of Chavez’ life to the point where he organizes a non-violent protest to bring about change and justice to a group that was disenfranchised by wealthy land owners.
Theme: The theme of this book is centered in having the hope, determination and courage to bring about change and justice through a non-violent protest.
Point of View: Written from a third person point of view
Style: Beautifully illustrated with warm colors that draws the reader in and brings the story to life.
Gender: No gender stereotyping; Story is specifically about Cesar Chavez;
Race: The main character is Chavez a Mexican America who sought change for Mexican American Farm Workers
Culture: Mexican American working for predominantly white farm owners in California during a specific time period
Economic: Suppress a specific ethnic group—Mexican American Farm Workers by wealthy land owners.
Ability: No representation of anyone being handicapped
Scripture : Jeremiah 33:15-16
1) The Lord raises people up for a purpose
2) Righteousness and justice
Faith Talk Questions:
1) How does it make you feel when certain people are treated incorrectly because of how they look?
2) How does God expect us to treat each other?
3) What other leaders or heroes used non-violent resistance to create change?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Dee Osbourne-Smart
Filed under: Biography/Memoir, Book Reviews, Books written for Grades 1 -3 (Ages 6-8), Books written for Grades 5-8 (Ages 10 -13), Faith Questions For...., Middle Schoolers, Nonfiction, Older Elementary | Tagged: Cesar Chavez, Change, courage, farm workers, justice, non-violence | Leave a Comment »