Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harvesting Hope

Written by: Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales

Grades: 3-4

Summary: Harvesting Hope tells the story Cesar Chavez and how he decided to speak up and raise awareness.  He lived with his family on a ranch in Arizona and had a great childhood. When a drought hit Arizona, he and his family were forced to move and find work elsewhere.  They ended up becoming migrant farm workers and moved many times throughout California.  He saw how cruelly the landowners treated their workers.  He and his family were paid very little and were often abused or beaten.  He dropped out of school after 8th grade and continued to work full time to help his family.  During his twenties, he decided to dedicate his life to fixing this issue.  He inspired other workers to join him and told them that the truth was a much better weapon than violence, just like his mother had always taught him.  Using this philosophy, he organized a march which went on for over three hundred miles. Cesar’s perseverance and determination paid off because while on the march, he was asked to sign the first contract for farm workers in history.  He raised awareness about the negative treatment of farm workers in America and it resulted in a positive outcome.
Representation of Element 5: 
       The story shows many examples of raising awareness. Cesar felt very passionately about the negative treatment of farmers and went to others to share his feelings. People were hesitant to join him and didn't take him seriously at first, but because he felt so strongly about this, he was able to convey the importance of the issue and get others to join him, therefore raising awareness about it. As an individual, he dedicated his life to this cause and he was very calm and levelheaded, but stubborn when it was necessary.  He reached out to people one by one. These qualities allowed him to get through to people, and he put so much effort into informing others about the issue at hand by talking to them individually.  He would tell other farm workers and "outsiders" what really went on behind closed doors and expressed the importance of it being stopped. He organized meetings, encouraged nonviolent action, and put together the march. Also, the fact that he encouraged truth and nonviolent action, even though some who were on his side were using physical action to solve the problem, definitely worked in his favor.   The way Cesar carried himself and treated the situation impacted his ability to raise awareness, and he most definitely succeeded.

Use in class: I think this book it a great representation of Element 5.  As an activity, I would have the students research other historical figures that raised awareness nonviolently, like Martin Luther King, Jr. for example. The class would research a person that appealed to them the most and would write a short report about their findings, but also create a corresponding presentation. This presentation would be delivered through the character’s point of view and the students can even dress up as the person they picked. While one person is presenting, I will have the rest of the class take notes on the presentation so everyone walks away from this lesson learning something new about historical figures.

No comments:

Post a Comment