Jessie De La Cruz
A Profile of a United Farm Worker

Gary Soto

Born into a family of migrant workers, Jessie De La Cruz worked in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley from the age of 5, picking cotton, grapes, cantaloupes, onions, and more. She rose to become a member of the fledgling United Farm Workers union in 1966, and then, at the request of its leader Cesar Chavez, became its first woman organizer. Jessie fought injustice toward Mexican and all farm workers, seeking ways for workers to purchase their own farmland.  As an activist, she became a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, testified before the Senate, and met the Pope.

Jessie De La Cruz is a role model for all– an ordinary person who became extraordinary by making change happen, not only for herself but for others.

“A portrait of a true American heroine.”
—Studs Terkel

Chicano writer Soto (who worked in the fields in high school and college) has written [De La Cruz’s] biography, based on personal interviews...teens will be caught by the facts of her hardship and struggle.”

“The author effectively personalizes the struggle of farm workers in a manner that will enable students to understand and care about their triumphs.”
School Library Journal

Gary Soto is a beloved and award-winning author of many novels, stories, memoirs, and collections of poetry, including Crazy Weekend and The Effects of Knut Hamsun on a Fresno Boy

Paperback / $11.95 / ISBN 978-0-89255-285-6 / 128 pages / Young Adult Nonfiction