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.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cesar si se puede! Yes we can!
Author: Carmen T. Bernier- Grand
Illustrated By: David Diaz
Grade Level: 2nd-6th
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish.
You may purchase this book here!
Learn more about the author at!

Summary: This poetry book depicts the life of activist Cesar Chavez in a different way. Its vivid illustrations provides readers with an idea of what it was like for a young Mexican-American to grow up in a rancho (farm) and work in the fields of a farm . Cesar did not like the working conditions of the farm and did not last a long time working at the farm. Although he later obtained a better job, Cesar resigned to go back to the fields to organize a union for the farm workers.He gain strength and spirit to stand up for the rights of the farmers and poor people. He spoke up for the farmers to obtain: better pay, living conditions, housing, and health. He was a non violent protester. He fasted several times a day, and asked workers to go on strike, as a demonstration of his fight for the equal rights for farmers. He also asked people to boycott lettuce and grapes until the pesticide which harmed many of the farm workers were banned. His will and perseverance lead his union farmers to victory.

Social Element #4 Social Movements and Social Change: Cesar Chavez is the perfect example of how one person can create social change. His courage, sacrifice, and hope led to create a social movement that is still acknowledge today. He helped improve other people's lives. He fought for the farmers rights for better working and living conditions. Growers provided protective masks, gloves, and many pesticides were banned. Now farmers have won their respect and are treated with dignity. He inspired others to work and support his efforts for social change and justice.

Follow-up activity: For a follow up activity the teacher can create a KWL chart with the students. They can have a class discussion and each person could talk about something new they have learned about Cesar Chavez. This book is also good to use in the classroom as a follow up to the introduction to other people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Dolores Huerta who also help create social movements and change. For more teacher resources click here!

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