that's not fair

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This picture book tells the true story of Emma Tenayuca, who at the age of 21 led thousands of Mexican-American pecan shellers in a successful strike.

The authors, Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Teneyuca, focus on Emma’s childhood and her awakening empathy with Mexican-American laborers. Emma was not born poor: she attended school in San Antonio, Texas, and had enough clothes and food. Yet she encountered children who could not learn to read because they were working  as farm laborers. She saw kids who didn’t have enough to eat, and not enough clothes to keep them warm.

Even as a schoolgirl, Emma taught a friend to read, and gave food and clothing to children in need. As a teenager, she began to give speeches about the injustices suffered by Mexican-American laborers. In 1938, she led 12,000 pecan shellers in a two-month strike that resulted in higher wages.

Because it focuses mostly on Emma’s childhood, his book will appeal to kids in the lower elementary grades. Kids may not understand the concept of labor unions, but they do understand fairness, and that’s what this book emphasizes. The pictures by Terry Ybanez are colorful, simple, and appealing. The text is printed in both English and Spanish.

You can buy this book from my Girls list.