Monday, September 2, 2013

Side by Side / Lada a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, by Monica Brown & Joe Cepeda (ages 5-9)

Labor Day has a special meaning for our community here in California. Today I would like to honor the brave work of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez in leading the farm workers' struggle for human rights and fair treatment. Monica Brown and Joe Cepeda's book Side by Side / Lado a Lado introduces these remarkable leaders to young children, focusing on their courage, bravery and integrity.
Side by Side / Lada a Lado
The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez
by Monica Brown
illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Rayo / HarperCollins, 2010
browse inside this book
available at:
your local library
ages 5 - 9
Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez each brought their own passion and backgrounds to the farm workers' struggles. Huerta moved to California as a young girl and learned from her mother to always think about others. As a teacher, Huerta "saw the farmworker children come to school cold and barefoot, too hungry to learn as well as they could."

Cesar Chavez watched as his family lost their home in Arizona, moving to California to become migrant farm workers, following the crops. His life was difficult, working in the hot sun picking lettuce, strawberries and grapes, suffering when owners sprayed crops with pesticides while workers were still in the fields.

Brown and Cepeda show how Huerta and Chavez came together to invite farm workers to join la causa, demanding better working conditions. The simple text, in both Spanish and English, emphasizes how they worked together as co-founders of the United Farm Workers union, organizing the National Grape Boycott and the historic march to Sacramento.

Joe Cepeda's illustrations really shine through in this picture book, bringing energy and conveying a sense of Huerta's and Chavez's passion, determination and joy in their work. Throughout, this book is filled with the sense of "¡Si, se pueda! Yes, we can!"

For more Labor Day books, check out the recommendations by The Nonfiction Detectives. They have several resources that would make great complements to Side by Side. One aspect I really value in the Common Core standards is asking students to read multiple sources about a topic. I look forward to checking out some of these other books for young children on the labor movement.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, HarperCollins. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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