An Elegy on the Death of Cesar Chavez

An Elegy on the Death of Cesar Chavez

by Rudolfo Anaya, Gaspar Enriquez
     
 

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A full-color picture book illustrating Rudolfo Anaya's poetic tribute to César Chávez, an American hero.See more details below

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Overview

A full-color picture book illustrating Rudolfo Anaya's poetic tribute to César Chávez, an American hero.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chicano novelist Anaya pens an impassioned poem about the legendary labor leader (1927-1993) that gets bogged down in flowery metaphors. Anaya depicts Ch vez as "a wind of change" whose name is "a soft breeze to cool the campesino's sweat," and describes Ch vez's opponents as "arrogant hounds of hate" living in "a land grown fat with greed." The verses move from grief to hope to a rousing call to action, honoring Ch vez's words in a refrain ("Rise, mi gente, rise!"), and are most effective when rooted in the specific (references to the San Joaqu n Valley and Sacramento where he organized members of the National Farm Workers Assoc., etc.). The abstract imagery unfortunately detracts from the poem's main thrust ("The future opens itself like the blossom/ That is his soul, the fruit of his labor./ He calls for us to share in the fruit"), and most of the facts are relegated to a note from the author and a chronology at the end. Threaded through with Christ imagery and references to Shakespeare and Shelley, this challenging work--despite its picture-book format--may be best suited for middle and high school-age students. Enriquez's surreal collage illustrations, presented as a series of old snapshots, convey interesting details but lack subtlety: Ch vez marches through oversize heads of lettuce, followed by a crowd of boycotters; the tendrils from a cluster of grapes twine around a policeman's gun as well as his handcuffed captive's wrists. A timeline poster on the back of the dust jacket captures key events in Ch vez's life. Ages 9-12. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Cesar Chavez, a Mexican American activist, galvanized farm workers in the sixties. He worked tirelessly for the poor, homeless, and oppressed, organizing the National Farm Worker's Union. Upon hearing of his death, the author eulogizes this incredible man in an emotional poem�"Chavez's name was a soft breeze to cool the campesino's sweat/A scourge on the oppressors of the poor." Beginning as a sad lament, the poem turns into one of hope and challenge. Readers are encouraged to listen to his voice in the wind and to help build the House of Justice. The theme is to build a better society by fighting for injustice and human rights. The elegy is illustrated with stunning photo collages. Black-and-white photographs are set upon vivid airbrush paintings, compelling us to appreciate the legacy of Cesar Chavez, hero of the common man. 2000, Cinco Puntos Press. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-This poetic expression of mourning and hope is a heartfelt commentary on history and greatness. Anaya tells about the life of this crusader for justice and how his ideals shaped his life's work. Chavez's impact on both the Hispanic community and American society is made manifest by repeated expressions of grief and loss, and by the final conclusion that, despite his death, his work goes on. Skillful use of meter and repetition give the text a mesmerizing formality that imparts the gravity of Chavez's labor and magnitude of his loss. It is perfectly matched by Enriquez's accomplished mixed-media collages. Photographs and watercolor paintings are skillfully combined with handmade-paper backgrounds to produce arresting images. A page of text faces each illustration; each of these pages is ornamented with a small insert from the facing collage along with one line of the text in enlarged typeface, creating a poem within a poem. Comparable to Alma Flor Ada's Gathering the Sun (Lothrop, 1997) in poetic and artistic power, this fine example of elegiac verse serves both poetry and biography well, while elucidating the struggles of migrant workers in this country.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780938317517
Publisher:
Cinco Puntos Press
Publication date:
10/01/2000
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,524,090
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

GASPAR ENRIQUEZ, whose super-realistic paintings are exhibited all over the country, was born and grew up on the south side of El Paso, Texas. He illustrated Elegy on the Death of César Chávez by Rudolfo Anaya. He lives in San Elizario, a small village near the border of the United States and Mexico, in a 250-year-old house built by his wife's great-great grandfather. He has a fine arts degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a master's degree from New Mexico State University. He is an art instructor at Bowie High School in El Paso. In 1994, he received a Mid-America Arts Alliance Fellowship. His work was included in the important and ground-breaking Chicano Art / Resistance and Affirmation show that traveled throughout the United States in the early 90s.

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