By: Sarah Warren
Illustrated by: Robert Casilla
Publisher: Two Lions
Publication Date: April 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: October 2013
Outside the very doors of Dolores Huerta’s classroom, the parents of her children toiled to simply put food on the table. They stooped over to pick the crops that fed the country, yet there was not enough for anything extra for their own children. Dolores looked into the eyes of a young girl who lethargically leaned over her desk, putting her hand to her temple. Hunger ate at her students and listening was a burden. “They are too sick to play. They have no shoes to wear at recess.” No, but they had one thing and that was their teacher, Dolores. She would find out what was going on, what she could do to remedy the situation.
No, there was not enough for anything extra, let along enough food. Dolores asked questions, lots of them and the parents told her that “their bosses [didn’t] pay them enough money for good food or new clothes or a visit to the doctor.” Grapes, they picked them day and night, but it was simply not enough. It was time for Dolores to take that stand, gather up her courage, and confront those bosses. She was “a warrior” and it was time to demand rights for those workers in order to save those children. Dolores pointed her finger at them, but they still said no. No, their actions were not good enough. What could she do to get them to understand the plight of the families, the children?
This is an amazing mini-biography of Dolores Huerta, a woman who made a difference. When most of us think of migrant workers and their efforts to obtain decent working conditions, we often think of César Chávez. Of course young people need to know that Dolores was also instrumental in fighting for the rights of migrant workers. The tale is poignant and very well-written, a certain stepping stone for further research and interest on the part of many students. It’s a story of courage and how one person really can make a difference. In the back of the book is a timeline (April 10, 1930 to 2003), and additional recommended book, article, teacher resources, and websites to explore.
Quill says: This is a fabulous biography that anyone interested in human rights should take note of!