A Seed in the Sun

A Seed in the Sun
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Release Date
October 25, 2022
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A farm-working girl with big dreams meets activist Dolores Huerta and joins the 1965 protest for migrant workers' rights in this tender-hearted middle-grade novel in verse, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Lula Viramontes dreams of one day becoming someone whom no one can ignore: a daring ringleader in a Mexican traveling carpa, despite her father's traditional views of what girls should be. When her family arrives for the grape harvest in Delano, California, Lula meets activist Dolores Huerta and el Teatro Campesino (the official theater company of the United Farm Workers). She discovers an even more pressing reason to raise her voice: the upcoming farm workers' strike, an event that will determine her family's future--for better or worse.

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A SEED IN THE SUN by Aida Salazar is a middle-grade, historical fiction novel in verse about Lulu’s experience growing up in a family of farm workers. Her parents and older brother help harvest grapes in Delano, California, until her mom falls ill from pesticide spraying, and labor rights activists sway the pickers to unionize. Hopeful for a better future, Lulu and her siblings convince their father to join the movement, but it’s not without its tribulations. He believes his kids should only do what he approves of, and he doesn’t approve of any of their dreams. If Lulu’s going to help get through to her dad and the greedy farm owners, she’ll need to recover her voice and find the courage to use it.

I love this story. Not only is it full of the interpersonal conflicts that exist within families, but it also shines a light on a very important moment in history. By taking a look back at this movement from the 1960s, not only do we get to meet historical figures, such as Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, but it also allows us to examine how far we’ve come since then, and how far we haven’t. Coincidentally, it’s been interesting to read this book as the 2023 WGA strike has begun, showcasing that even with progress, selfish corporations are still lording over their employees. Thankfully, A SEED IN THE SUN reminds us we have power in working together.

Writing a novel in verse, particularly a middle-grade one, is a bold choice. In the first half of the book, I didn’t see how that choice supported the overall narrative, especially because it reads like prose for the most part. However, about halfway through, I started to notice the way the words are structured on the page was giving me an emotional impression, even before I began reading. Most notably, “Dolores Speaks,” on page 252, visually looks like a coming together from different backgrounds and emerging into unity. In other words, the image the words create together on the page reflects the tone or idea in a creative way. The other artwork in the book, especially the cover, is also fantastic.

Overall, A SEED IN THE SUN is not only a great read, but an essential one. This book is perfect for classrooms and schools across the US, as the message and humanity in it are crucial. I highly recommend it!
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