The first page summarizes Chavez's reason for his passion to right society's wrongs, especially toward farm laborers: "[C]havez and others who helped put food on Americans' tables often had no tables of their own, no real homes." Cesar was born March 31, 1927. After his family lost their farm during the Depression and were forced to move constantly as migrant farm workers, Cesar attended sixty-five elementary schools. In 1942 his father was hurt in an auto accident and Cesar dropped out of school to work. As a sailor during World War II he was arrested for sitting in the section of a movie theater reserved for whites. After the war, through the Community Service Organization, he met activist Fred Ross, who felt all people, including the poor, should have power. With Ross's mentoring, Chavez embarked on a life of advocacy. The injustices Chavez felt and his way of dealing with them through sit-ins, church meetings, marches, boycotts, and fasts are described. After his death he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, which President Clinton presented to Chavez's wife Helen in 1994. Illustrations echo bright, rich colors and folk art style of well-known Mexican artists. A welcome addition to a library about a Chicano activist whose contributions to social justice are highly significant. Ilan Stavans's Cesar Chavez: A Photographic Essay would be an excellent companion book. Backmatter includes timeline of Chavez's life, citations for quotes, bibliography, and recommended websites. Reviewer: Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ed.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Adler and his son, Michael, have collaborated to produce another respectable addition to the biography series the senior Adler began years ago. Those owning Kathleen Krull's Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez (Harcourt, 2003), a standout biography of Chavez for this age group, will still want to consider this title because of its slightly different bent. While Krull emphasizes Chavez's younger years that inspired him to become an activist and focuses on the 1965 grape pickers boycott and the 300-mile march that resulted in the first farm workers' contract, the Adlers' book includes those events, but provides a more linear approach. It covers Chavez's life from birth to death, providing important facts, such as the posthumous award of the Congressional Medal of Freedom, not mentioned in Krull's title. Olofsdotter's lively, earth-toned illustrations extend the text.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ