Side by Side/Lado a Lado
by Monica Brown, illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Rayo, 2010. ISBN 978-0-061-22781-3.
Reviewed by Judy Miller
Posted on 05/21/2010

Younger Readers; Nonfiction: Cultural/Gender Focus; Nonfiction: History

Side by Side is a perfect title for this bilingual story of historical figures Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, who established the United Farm Workers Association in 1962. Brown does a nice job of simply telling the young child how two people born into different socio-economic means met, partnered and developed a powerful voice for the migrant farm workers and their rights.

Side by Side begins by briefly chronicling the backgrounds of Huerta and Chavez. Their stories unfold within the facing pages of the book, side by side. Huerta is depicted as a talker, while Chavez is described as a listener. Huerta learned about activism and taking care of others at a young age, especially the migrant farm workers, from her parents. She would later teach the hungry, thirsty and barefoot children of migrant farm workers. As a young boy, Chavez learned from personal experience the hardship of being a migrant farm worker, having to drop out of school and work with his family under difficult conditions. He continued to educated himself by reading.

Eventually, Huerta and Chavez met and their story of activism and motivating the farm workers to fight is told. Side by Side is written in English and Spanish. The colorful illustrations help to capture and hold the young reader's attention.

Brown provides a note for parents and teachers at the back of the book, providing further historical information about Huerta and Chavez.

Monica Brown is the author of Pelé, King of Soccer, and the Pura Belpré Honor winners My Name is Gabito and My Name is Celia. Her books honor the lives of Latinos/as that have shaped out history. Monica lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her husband and two daughters. Visit her website.

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