Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar ChavezBy Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Yuyi Morales (pronounced Ju-ji)
AR Reading Level 3.9; 0.5 points
Available from Amazon.com

Summary: When Cesar Chavez was ten years old, his family had to move from their happy home in Arizona because of drought.  So begins the story of working as a migrant worker in California under increasingly deplorable conditions.  The historic 1965 strike against grape farmers, Cesar Chavez’s efforts to unionize migrant workers, and the dramatic 340 mile march for “La Causa” to California’s capital is the centerpiece of this dramatic and beautifully told story.

Activities: Harvesting Hope  is poetically written, but simple enough for children to understand.  Still, I would read this story aloud.  Students will get much more out of it with an adult to explain the history and classmates to share the experience.  Expect a long classroom discussion.  Students will be indignant to learn that after Cesar broke a school rule against speaking Spanish, the teacher hung a sign on him that read “I AM A CLOWN. I SPEAK SPANISH.” Many stores displayed “White Trade Only” signs.

Like Chavez himself did, children will make the natural connections to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi.

This book reminds us all to respect the dignity of every man.

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Posted in Book Reviews,Social Studies by Corey Green @ May 4, 2010


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