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Cesar: Si, Se Puede!/ Yes, We Can!

Last updated Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Author: Carmen Bernier-Grand
Illustrator: David Diaz
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0761451722
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2007

Synopsis: From www.alibris.com Carmen T. Bernier-Grand tells the story of activist Cesar Chavez in free-verse poetry, concentrating as much on Chavez's feelings and strength of character as on the events themselves. "Who could tell/ that he with a soft pan dulce voice,/ hair the color of mesquite,/ and downcast, Aztec eyes,/ would have the courage to speak up/ for the campesinos." Chavez never bothered to accumulate any property, and the last words of the text directly quote him: "True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire." Bernier-Grand includes a large bibliography with online sources, a short biography, a meticulous chronology, a glossary, and well-known quotes from Chavez. Colorful folk-art illustrations accompany the text.

Note to readers:
•  Read page 44-45 before the reading club for background—You probably can’t read all of the poems. Try reading the first 4 poems, the poem on pg 16, 20, 22, 30 and 34. You should definitely end with poem on page 36.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know who Cesar Chavez is?
•  Why is he important to our lives?
•  What did you do on Cesar Chavez day? (March 31)
•  Where does your food come from beyond the grocery store?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What struggles did Cesar have to live through?
•  How did his father influence his life? (belief in unions/working together/hard work) How did his mother influence his life? (peaceful demonstrations/education)
•  How did he change other’s lives?
•  Can one person make difference?
•  Are you a leader? What would you like to change around you?

Craft ideas:
•  Make signs for things you wish to change
•  Make traditional Papel Picado which are banners hung to celebrate Mexican Holidays. Bring ahead option: other types of paper (i.e. tissue paper, wrapping paper, origami paper, etc.), hole punches, craft scissors to cut decorative edging. Start with a piece of paper. Fold a flap of about 1 inch along the top (long) edge to create a fold to hang over the piece of string. Then, fold the paper length-wise in half 1 or 2 times, keeping the flap on the outside so you can see it. Fold the bottom edge up to the top so you have a square. Cut (or hole punch) designs in the square and on the edges, except for the edge with the flap. Unfold it and hang it over a piece of string. You can create several different pieces and hang them all over one string to make a banner.
•  Make a street sign with Cesar Chavez Avenue or with you name. Take a piece of construction paper and fold it lengthwise. Write your name or Cesar’s name and decorate it with things you like/Cesar liked. Hang your sign on string or attach it to a popsicle stick/straw

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!