From 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
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The selfless struggles of labor leader Chavez are given a tempered and lucid treatment in this educational overview. It only takes one page for the Adlers to zero in on the theme of inequality: “Chavez and others who helped put food on Americans’ tables often had no tables of their own, no real homes.” After losing their farm in the Great Depression, the Chavez family headed west, living an itinerant lifestyle as they moved from farm to farm—and shuttling young Cesar among 65 different elementary schools. The books focuses mainly on Chavez’s later fights for better wages and safer working conditions. Three of his hunger strikes are described, though Olofsdotter keeps her illustrations gentle and ennobling. The characters are drawn in an intentionally stiff style that fits with the depth-challenged folk art backgrounds, most of which are dominated by the color of sand. The text, meanwhile, is peppered with quotes from Chavez, all of which are backed up with source notes. An elegant introduction to a man who inspired thousands. Grades 1-4. --Daniel Kraus