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Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

5.0 3
by Kathleen Krull, Yuyi Morales (Illustrator)

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Cesar Chavez is known as one of America's greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But Cesar wasn't always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive.


Cesar Chavez is known as one of America's greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But Cesar wasn't always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive.

Cesar knew things had to change, and he thought that—maybe—he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened.

An author's note provides historical context for the story of Cesar Chavez's life.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
"One person can make a difference is a message that resonates throughout Krull's stirring biography..."
Publishers Weekly
Krull (Wilma Unlimited; the Lives of... series) turns readers' attention to Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), founder of the National Farm Workers Association and champion of migrant workers. A lyrical portrait of a glorious early boyhood on his family's Arizona ranch opens the sympathetic narrative and explains that drought forced the family off their land in 1937 and consigned them to the grueling life of itinerant manual farm labor. Krull selects details that the target audience will readily understand; for example, she notes that Chavez attended 35 schools (he left after eighth grade) and that a teacher once hung a sign on him that read "I am a clown. I speak Spanish." The author also stresses Chavez's struggles to overcome extreme shyness and his commitment to nonviolent means of protest, demonstrating the latter in a climactic account of the landmark farm workers' strike and protest march led by Chavez in 1965. Debut illustrator Morales's mixed-media, full-bleed art taps into folkloric qualities that enhance the humanity of the characters. Using the bright colors of Mexican art, she skews the landscapes to reflect the characters' emotions. Sweeping, organic brushstrokes often angle diagonally, painting purple skies above green California fields or dividing rows of brown earth. The visual statement is as powerful as the story. Ages 6-9. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-The dramatic story of Chavez's 340-mile march to protest the working conditions of migrant farmworkers in California is the centerpiece of this well-told biography. Readers meet Chavez at his grandparents' home in Arizona where he lived happily amid a large extended family. His childhood was cut short when, due to financial difficulties, the family was forced to move to California to seek employment. After years of laboring in the fields, Chavez became increasingly disturbed by the inhuman living conditions imposed by the growers. The historic 1965 strike against grape growers and the subsequent march for "La Causa" are vividly recounted, and Chavez's victory-the agreement by the growers granting the workers better conditions and higher pay-is palpable. While sufficient background information is provided to support the story and encourage further research, focusing on one event makes the story appealing to younger readers. The text is largely limited to one side of a spread; beautifully rendered earth-toned illustrations flow out from behind the words and onto the facing page. A fine addition to any collection.-Sue Morgan, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, Union City, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cesar Chavez, like his heroes Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, believed in non-violent change. He fought ceaselessly for the rights of migrant farm workers to have a decent living conditions and a living wage. Krull does not offer a birth-to-death biography, instead focusing on the influences of his early years, the organization of the National Farm Workers Association, and the first contract with the grape growers. She portrays Chavez as a quiet, patient, strong-willed man who believed implicitly in his "causa" and worked tirelessly for his people. She presents additional events in his life and the circumstances of his death in an author's note. Morales uses bright acrylic colors that flow across the pages, mirroring the constant movement in Chavez's life. The overall look of the work is reminiscent of a Diego Rivera mural. Krull and Morales introduce a long-neglected figure from recent history to a new audience in an informative, eye-catching manner. A notable achievement. (Biography. 8-12)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)
AD800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull  is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young people, including Lives of the Explorers, Lives of the Musicians, and all other books in this popular series illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt. She is also the author of Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, as well as The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) and Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country), both co-written with Paul Brewer and illustrated by Stacy Innerst. She lives in San Diego, California. www.kathleenkrull.com.

YUYI MORALES is a promising new picture book illustrator. A native of Mexico, she now lives in San Francisco where she is pursuing a degree in creative writing and developing her career as an artist. She is also a puppet-maker and the host of a Spanish-language storytelling radio show.

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Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SBC4 More than 1 year ago
This book is about the life of Cesar Chavez. He grew up on a ranch in Arizona but his family had to sell it because of a drought. His family moved to California and had to work on other peoples farms. The working conditions were horrible and the living conditions were not the best either. They had to work long days and they were paid badly. He organized the National Farm Workers Association and was able to have it signed into action without violence. This book is a great book for classrooms to use. Cesar Chavez was able to achieve what was needed for the workers on farms using non-violence. He was a very historical figure. The book is well written and the pictures are amazing. Yuyi Morales does a great job catching the colors and the shapes. The way that she curves the people in this book gives the characters a dramatic look. I would use this book in my future classroom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
je1986 More than 1 year ago
Cesar was a Mexican boy that went through many struggles throughout his life. His hard life started when his parents had to move to a different state for a better job. He went through many hardships and became very frusterated, but stayed strong willed. He stuck up for himself, and he didn't find it fair that he was mistreated because of his race. At the end of the story he starts a march to let people know that he is tired of being powerless. Read the story to find out the many struggles Cesar had, and how he solved his hardships. I found this story to be very educational. This story would be great in classrooms because it would show the students how different cultures were treated in the early 1900's. Also, Cesar was very brave and accomplished his goals that he had in life. Throughout the book it talks about the ways he was mistreated, and what he does about the situation. The march that Cesar starts changed his life around in a positive way, as well as others. This story would be great for upper elementary or middle school classrooms to give them a better understanding of other cultures besides their own. I recommend this book to everyone, it is great!