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June 1, 2016

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Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day with Pura Belpré Honoree HARVESTING HOPE!

 

“Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society.…Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.”

—Cesar Chavez, cofounder of United Farm Workers

 

Today is Cesar Chavez Day, and to celebrate we are revisiting Harvesting Hope by Kathleen Krull and Yuyi Morales. Harvesting Hope chronicles Chavez’s life as an advocate for the rights of migrant farm workers and laborers.

Cesar Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Arizona. His parents, who were Mexican immigrants, prospered as business owners and farmers. However, the Great Depression crushed the family’s financial prospects, as it did to so many Americans. In 1937, Chavez’s family moved to California to find employment as migrant workers. Chavez was only ten years old when he experienced the inhumane conditions migrant workers were forced to endure as they worked long hours in the fields for meager pay. From this difficult experience Chavez learned the enduring importance of human dignity and compassion, which would fundamentally inform his leadership as an adult.

In Harvesting Hope, Krull maintains the delicate balance between showing and telling, providing significant historical background while taking the reader on a journey from Chavez’s idyllic childhood in Arizona to his hard-won victory over a corporate giant to ensure the legal rights of farm workers. Morales’s illustrations imbue the book with a dreamlike quality. Her figures command the page with grace and her use of colors shows the richness of Cesar’s emotional life and the depth of his plight as a migrant worker. This book is a worthy tribute to such a noble historical figure, and in 2004 it won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor.

As a leader, Chavez refused to engage in bullying tactics that dehumanized others and he is revered for being a catalyst of social change. Cesar Chavez Day is an official state holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas that is dedicated to acts of community service. Join us as we celebrate Cesar Chavez’s life works and some excellent Latino children’s literature!

 

*Club Leo en español is a proud participant in Latin@s in Kid Lit’s 2014 Reading Challenge, where contributors read and review at least one book per month with a Latino/a author or illustrator and/or Latino/a characters, settings, and themes. This is our first review for the Reading Challenge. Join us!*

About the Author: Concetta Gleason is the editorial assistant/admin coordinator for Club Leo. 

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March 31, 2014