A Seed in the Sun

Dial. Oct. 2022. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593406601.
Gr 3-7–Lula Viramontes, a seventh grader in Delano, CA, has big worries in 1965. Her big family lives in a labor camp, as they follow the farming crops of grapes and whatever else needs harvesting. Lula and her older sister Concha want to go to school, but they are often needed at home to help with the younger siblings, as Mamá has developed a mysterious illness. Papa and their older brother Rafa toil in the fields, doing the backbreaking “men’s work” while often being mistreated and not paid. The plight of Lula’s family and that of migrant farm workers is deftly told. Lula has big dreams, but her wispy voice is all but gone, and she lives in fear of her father’s violent temper. When Lula’s friend Lenor tells her of strikes that are forming for workers to get better rights and wages, Lula is afraid to speak up. Then they learn Mamá’s illness may be a result of the pesticides used on farms, and the family is more willing to hear the compelling voices of Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Larry Itliong, the leaders for the striking farming associations. When the family faces eviction for striking, Lula must find her voice, and stand up for what is right.
VERDICT Poignantly told, the story of Lula and her family’s plight will tug young readers’ heartstrings; this is an important, and sometimes unspoken, part of the American past and present that needs to be brought to light.

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