Review of A Seed in the Sun

A Seed in the SunA Seed in the Sun
by Aida Salazar
Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    273 pp.    g
10/22    978-0-593-40660-1    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-40661-8    $10.99

In this lyrical verse novel set in 1965 California, Lula has lost her voice. She can only speak in “a whispery rasp” that doesn’t help when she has to call out in the fields where she picks grapes with her family of migrant workers. It doesn’t help when her father becomes angry and accuses her of not doing her part for the family’s survival. And it doesn’t help when there is danger and she needs to protect her siblings. With a stronger voice, she would make her case for attending school, but now that her mother has been stricken by a mysterious illness, that’s not possible. When the exploited farmworkers start organizing and a woman named Dolores Huerta urges them to strike, things begin changing. Will her father be receptive to these ideas? Will her mother get medical assistance? Will Lula and her siblings return to school? Salazar seamlessly combines historical events of the farmworkers’ rights movement and the 1965 Delano grape strike with a sensitive portrayal of a girl trying to make sense of the world. It’s a powerful coming-of-age story filled with evocative language, memorable characters, and apt nature imagery. A lengthy author’s note tells more about what Salazar calls “one of the greatest labor justice movements undertaken in United States history.”

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Alicia K. Long

Alicia K. Long teaches multicultural materials for children and young adults at the University of South Florida's School of Information. She also presents family literacy and bilingual programs in public libraries and is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri.

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