Wednesday, December 11, 2019

United to Strike: A Story of the Delano Grape Workers

Zenk, Molly. United to Strike: A Story of the Delano Grape Workers
September 1st 2019 by Jolly Fish Press
Library copy

Tala, a Filippino-Mexican-American girl living in Delano, California in 1965, wants to be an investigative reporter. Her parents work in the food industry, which is experiencing problems due to the poor treatment of  farm workers. She is an only child, and her family is a little better off than some. Her best friend, Jasmine, comes from a large family that struggles. Because of this, when there is a strike, Jasmine's father crosses the picket line to work. Otherwise, the family would have no food. As a result, Jasmine is treated poorly at school. Tala's father is instrumental in the efforts to unionize and set up boycotts, and she writes articles about this. She tries to stick up for her friend, but the two are at odds as the efforts drag on. The whole community is affected, but eventually, positive changes are made.
Strengths: This is a great portrayal of a little known but important period in labor history. It is also perfect for both Hispanic Heritage and Filipino Heritage month in October! I enjoyed the fact that it also included friend drama, so middle school readers will pick it up for that as well. The strong family ties and the commitment to a cause were good to see as well.
Weaknesses: The different view points and diary entries made this hard to follow at some points.
What I really think: I am glad I purchased this for out 7th grade Decades Unit, especially since the book is set in the 1960s, and that project is a precursor to studying The Outsiders. It is a perfect companion to Brill's Dolores Huerta Stands Strong: The Woman Who Demanded Justice.

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