(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The preface to Mighty Hard Road includes an excerpt from a composition written by a young boy, the son of a farm worker. The boy writes:Cesar Chávez is our leader. When he was a small boy he had to get out of school to work in the fields with his parents. Ever since then he dreamed of making a big strike so that parents could get more for working and the children of farm workers wouldn’t have to miss school like he did.

These words emphasize the book’s main theme and objectives. As a Hispanic American, Chávez endured hatred and prejudice. As a migrant worker, he lived in poverty, knew hunger, and was not able to obtain a formal education. The authors suggest, however, that Chávez possessed many characteristics, such as strong values, courage, humility, a charismatic personality, and determination, that made it possible for him to overcome many barriers.

Chávez’s values had a strong influence on the character of the farm workers’ movement. Terzian and Cramer suggest that Chávez was profoundly influenced by works advocating nonviolence, such as the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi and Christian literature. Chávez was an admirer of Martin Luther King, Jr., and some of the strategies used by the farm workers were borrowed from the Civil Rights movement. To demonstrate his commitment to nonviolence, Chávez fasted as a form of protest against the intransigence of growers.

While the primary focus of the book is on Chávez and the farm workers’ movement, young readers will gain a sense of some of the major issues and events that occurred...

(The entire section is 652 words.)