The Legacy of César Chávez

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta with arms raised

This booklist honors the legacy of the great civil rights leader César Chávez. Whether you are celebrating his birthday on March 31st or are doing a unit on migrant farmworkers or civil rights, you'll be able to complement your lesson with these titles. Related books are also available in our bilingual Migrant Stories booklist.

See related resources from our César Chávez collection.

A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez

Age Level: 6-9

This picture book about Cesar Chavez provides a strong introduction to the biographical details of his life, from his early days growing up in the Great Depression to his years in the Navy and later work on behalf of farmworkers. Detailed illustrations provide important historical context for young readers.

Cesar Chavez (On My Own Biography)

Illustrated by: Mark Schroder
Age Level: 6-9

"Part of the On My Own Biography series, this simple, dramatic picture book combines the history of the migrant farm workers' struggle with Chavez's personal story…A good way to introduce children to the hero and to the issues." — Booklist

Cesar Chavez (Rookie Biographies)

Susan Eddy presents an engaging introduction to the life of Cesar Chavez for beginning readers. The accompanying photographs depict Chavez throughout his life, as well as scenes of farmworkers of all ages in the fields. This selection may be of particular interest in migrant and/or adult literacy programs.

Cesar Chavez: Fighting for Fairness (Famous Latinos)

This biography of Cesar Chavez highlights important events in the civil rights' leader's life, as well as numerous photos to accompany the text. The well-organized, engaging format will appeal to students who are ready for independent reading. A timeline and recommended resources are included. Spanish edition available.

César: Yes, We Can!

painting of Cesar Chavez
Illustrated by: David Diaz
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp), Spanish vocabulary featured

The life and times of César Chávez are vividly re-created in this collection of evocative poems. Where most biographies stick to the facts of what a person did, this one also touches on the man's character and values. Children will learn about Chávez, but, more importantly, they will learn about the important lessons he taught others even amid great challenges.

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

Portrait of Cesar Chavez in front of setting sun
Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

As a young boy, Cesar Chavez grew up on an 80-acre ranch in Arizona in the midst of joyous family reunions. When his family had to leave Arizona, however, to work as migrant laborers in California, their lives were turned upside down. During these excrutiating days and nights, Cesar struggled — but then found the resolve to one day help his fellow workers. Yuyi Morales brings Cesar's childhood and early days as an organizer to life with stunning illustrations.

Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States

Collage of famous Latino/a trailblazers
Illustrated by: Gloria Félix
Age Level: 9-12, Middle Grade
Language: Spanish

Nuestra América highlights the inspiring stories of thirty Latina/o/xs throughout history and their incredible contributions to the cultural, social, and political character of the United States.
The stories in this book cover each figure's cultural background, childhood, and the challenges and opportunities they met in pursuit of their goals. A glossary of terms and discussion question-filled reading guide, created by the Smithsonian Latino Center, encourage further research and exploration.

Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and César Chávez

Illustration of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez lifting up their hands in solidarity
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Many years ago in California, an energetic young Girl Scout named Dolores worked to raise money for soldiers fighting in World War II. A thoughtful young boy named Cesar worked in the fields to help his family put food on the table. As young adults, these two extraordinary individuals would meet and spend the rest of their lives working tirelessly on behalf of migrant workers and children through nonviolent struggle — side by side.

We Are Not Beasts of Burden

Age Level: Middle Grade

This in-depth portrayal of Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike begins with an introduction to California's agricultural industry and the little-known history of diverse migrant farmworkers (Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) the industry relied upon until a program was established to bring Mexican workers to the fields. It is within this context that Cesar Chavez's story and the events leading up to the Grape Strike unfold, providing extensive information on the formation of the United Farmworkers Union and subsequent efforts on behalf of migrant workers.