Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez (Picture Book Biography)

A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez (Picture Book Biography)

David A. Adler, Michael S. Adler
Illustrator:  Marie Olofsdotter 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Holiday House, 2010   ISBN: 978-0823422029

Cesar Chavez was the son of farmers, and in 1938, when the depression hit, his parents lost their farm in Arizona. Like so many other farmers, Cesar’s parents decided to move to California to find work. There Cesar, his parents, and his siblings worked in fields, picking peas, beans, and other fruits and vegetables. They often had to endure miserable working conditions, and they never stayed anywhere for long. Because they moved so often, they had no real home and Cesar went to sixty-five schools.

When Cesar was just fifteen years old his father was injured in a car accident, and Cesar had to drop out of school to work full time. After serving in the U.S. Navy for two years during World War II, Cesar went back to his life in California. In 1952, Cesar met a man called Fred Ross who Cesar said: “changed my life.”

Ross told Cesar that all Americans, even the poor ones, had power. They needed to speak out and vote. With their voices and their votes, they could bring about change. Cesar saw that he could make a difference in the life of farm workers. By demonstrating, boycotting, going on strike, marching, and voting, he and his people were able to peacefully fight for their rights.

This biographical picture book will give young children an excellent picture of what Cesar Chavez was like, and they will see how he was able to bring about change for poor farm workers. The narrative is engaging, and numerous quotes throughout the text give the story a very personal touch. At the back of the book, there is a timeline, notes from the authors, and more.