Friday, September 28, 2012

Cesar Chavez: A Photographic Essay by Ilan Stavans

It is possible that there is another more perfect photograph in a library book for sharing with students when Yom Kippur, a holiday they may have never heard of, occurs smack-dab in the middle of Latino/a History Month, but on page 62 of Ilan Stavan’s Cesar Chavez: A Photographic Essay, there is a wonderful image for sparking students’ curiosity and wonderings.  Here is a picture of Cesar Chavez holding a shofar.  Why is Cesar Chavez holding a shofar?

Serendipitous events aside, this book is essential for readers who have yet to wonder or have just begun to ask the question Who was Cesar Chavez?  With a minimum of text, this volume is an invitation to consider the life of the six-year old boy, his eighth-grade graduation photo, the farmworkers and farm life he concerned himself with, and the battles he fought to establish the humanity and dignity of farm workers.  Highly recommended as a supplement to Steinbeck’s Grape of Wrath, Zola’s Germinal, or units of study on child labor, human rights, activism, civil rights, labor movements, and revolution.  This book will also be of interest to instructors searching for accessible photobiographies with social relevance which include a higher degree of text-complexity than usually accompanies so much white space. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Stavans, Ilan.  Cesar Chavez:  A Photographic Essay.  El Paso:  Cinco Puntos Press, 2010. Print.

No comments: