Let's step back in time and head to California in 1965. We are migrant workers and our life is hard. When we head out into the field to pick grapes for growers, the work is back-breaking. We are barely paid enough money for our family to live on and it turns out, the chemicals they are spraying on the fields are making us sick. Enter Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez who are social activists standing up for the workers and demanding better pay and safer working conditions.
Lula Viramontes' father is a picker and her mother has been a picker. Her older sister and brother are pickers. The little ones stay home for now. Life is hard. In this family what the father says, goes and he has a temper that he unleashes on the children with a belt. Lula has literally lost her voice so she struggles to be heard and she struggles to be seen. Her mother is ill - very ill - and the family is fighting to get her some medical care. Her older sister Concha dreams of going to college but their father has ruled that Concha has to pick because she's good at it and the family needs the money she brings in.
What has happen for change to find its way into a family? Can these workers really have enough power to be treated fairly? Is there really a pathway to a better life?
This story gives us knowledge of the past and characters to root for. Injustice can be as close as the dining room table and in the work world around us. Standing in these shoes empowers all of us to see the injustice and to feel empathy for their challenges.
What would you do?
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
A farm-working girl with big dreams meets activist Dolores Huerta and joins the 1965 protest for workers’ rights in this tender-hearted novel in verse, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Lula Viramontes aches to one day become someone whom no one can ignore: a daring ringleader in a Mexican traveling circus. But between working the grape harvest in Delano, California, with her older siblings under dangerous conditions; taking care of her younger siblings and Mamá, who has mysteriously fallen ill; and doing everything she can to avoid Papá’s volatile temper, it’s hard to hold on to those dreams.
Then she meets Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong, and other labor rights activists and realizes she may need to raise her voice sooner rather than later: Farmworkers are striking for better treatment and wages, and whether Lula’s family joins them or not will determine their future.---from the publisher
272 pages 978-0593406601 Ages 9-13
Keywords: historical fiction, Latina and Hispanic, Latina author, novels in verse, social activists, American history, injustice, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old