Monday, September 6, 2010

A Review for Labor Day

Side by Side/ Lado a Lado by Monica Brown illus by Joe Cepeda
This is the story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. The two worked together to help farmworkers fight for their rights. In 1967 Huerta and Chavez cofounded the United Farm Workers Union. Since its Labor Day, I thought this would be a very fitting book to review.

There are a few children's biographies on Cesar Chavez. Though as far as I know this is the first children's book that pertains to Dolores Huerta. This is Brown's fifth bilingual picture book biography. The first one that features two influential people in history. She did a wonderful job with the layout. It opens with the reader being introduced to a young Dolores on one page and a young Cesar on the other.

Brown continues this alternating telling, so the reader learns about the early years of Huerta and Chavez equally. Until the day the two finally meet. From that point on Side by Side is about what they accomplished together.

"When the growers and the politicians wouldn't listen, Cesar stopped eating for thirty-six days so that others would understand how important it was to protect the workers. When their bosses bullied them, the workers used to say, "we can't do it. we can't win." But with the help of Dolores, they began to chant, "Si, se puede! Yes, we can"!

Brown has mastered the art of making facts readable and enjoyable. Joe Cepeda's artistic style is a perfect fit for Side by Side. I love this collaboration.* Brown includes a note for parents in the back, with additional information. This is a must add to any library. This review is cross posted at my personal blog


Barbara Albin said...

Two very wonderful people to be proud of. Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. This for me is a definite must buy for my grandchildren, if not for myself, as there is not a day that goes by that I do not see the day workers laboring in the fields so that I have fresh fruit and vegetables on my table. They sometimes work under terrible conditions, better today than before, but of course still not great.

Doret said...

Hi Barbara - thanks so much for leaving a comment. Its nice to know when readers take to a book.

I think your grandchildren will love it.