Harvesting Hope: the Story of Cesar Chavez

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Genre: Biography

Bibliographic Information:
Krull, Kathleen. Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
Illus. by Yuyi Morales. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2003.

Professional Recommendation: Horn Book Guide (2)

Summary: Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez is truly an inspirational story of a man that so many years ago showed that non-violence was much more powerful than fists and guns. This biography highlights Cesar Chavez's life and all that he did to bring justice to the helpless and change the world as he knew it.

    The story of Cesar Chavez is truly an incredible one. In one sense he can be compared to Gandhi in all of his peaceful protests and strides for non-violence. Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez does a great job of highlighting where Chavez came from and where he went in his life. As the story progresses through Chavez's life, there are many changes in the illustrations. At the beginning of the story when Chavez is was at peace while being present on his family's ranch the colors are warm and horizontal. You can tell the calm that he must have had as a child, and then when things begin to change in his life and he encounters hard times the illustrations change as well. For example, when Chavez's family has to sell their ranch and move to California to work on someone else's land the pictures become much darker and the soil is a very dark brown whereas earlier it was more of a creamy brown. The shape of Chavez's body when he is working for someone else is very jagged and uncomfortable looking. The illustrations truly gave you the uncomfortable feeling that Chavez must have been feeling at the time being forced to do something that he did not want to do. Then when things begin to get better for Cesar Chavez and his family the colors begin to brighten and there are pinks and lavender hues. On certain pages, when you are seeing both conflict and hope at the same time there is a combination of these light and dark colors. For example, when Chavez is rallying his troops to conduct a non-violent protest, you can see the dark reds representing the conflict as well as the lighter colors symbolizing the hope.
    This biography definitely deserved the two that it was given on the Horn Book Guide. It was truly a hopeful and inspirational story that all should know about.

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