Cover image for Separate is never equal : Sylvia Mendez & her family's fight for desegregation
Title:
Separate is never equal : Sylvia Mendez & her family's fight for desegregation
Author:
Tonatiuh, Duncan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014.
Physical Description:
40 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Summary:
"Years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an eight-year-old girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1946 in California"--
Language:
English
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

870 Lexile.

AD 870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 5.1.

Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.1 0.5 164558.
ISBN:
9781419710544
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Central Library LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Reading List
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Kenmore Library LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Lancaster Library LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Frank E. Merriweather Library LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Niagara Branch Library LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction New Materials
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Summary

Summary

A 2015 Pura Belpr#65533; Illustrator Honor Book and a 2015 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education , Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a "Whites only" school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

Praise for Separate is Never Equal
STARRED REVIEW S
" Tonatiuh masterfully combines text and folk-inspired art to add an important piece to the mosaic of U.S. civil rights history."
-- Kirkus Reviews , starred review

"Younger children will be outraged by the injustice of the Mendez family story but pleased by its successful resolution. Older children will understand the importance of the 1947 ruling that desegregated California schools, paving the way for Brown v. Board of Education seven years later."
-- School Library Journal , starred review

"Tonatiuh ( Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote ) offers an illuminating account of a family's hard-fought legal battle to desegregate California schools in the years before Brown v. Board of Education ."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Pura Belpr#65533; Award-winning Tonatiuh makes excellent use of picture-book storytelling to bring attention to the 1947 California ruling against public-school segregation."
-- Booklist

"The straightforward narrative is well matched with the illustrations in Tonatiuh's signature style, their two-dimensional perspective reminiscent of the Mixtec codex but collaged with paper, wood, cloth, brick, and (Photoshopped) hair to provide textural variation. This story deserves to be more widely known, and now, thanks to this book, it will be."
-- The Horn Book Magazine


Author Notes

Duncan Tonatiuh 's first book, Dear Primo , won the 2011 Pura Belpr#65533; Honor for Illustration, and Diego Rivera won the 2012 Pura Belpr#65533; Illustration Award. Tonatiuh lives in Mexico.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Pura Belpre Award-winning Tonatiuh (Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote, 2013) makes excellent use of picture-book storytelling to bring attention to the 1947 California ruling against public-school segregation. The concise, informative text, with occasional and always translated Spanish lines, discusses how being banned from enrolling in an Orange County grade school because of her skin tone and Mexican surname inspired Sylvia Mendez' family to fight for integrated schools. Soon they were joined by many others, including the NAACP and the Japanese American Citizens League, which led to their hard-won victory. Tonatiuh's multimedia artwork showcases period detail, such as the children's clothing and the differences between the school facilities, in his unique folk art style. An endnote essay recapping the events, photos of Sylvia and her schools, and a glossary and resource list for further research complete this thorough exploration of an event that is rarely taught. This would be a useful complement to other books about the fight for desegregation, such as Deborah Wiles' Freedom Summer (2001) or Andrea Davis Pinkney's Sit-In (2010).--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Tonatiuh (Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote) offers an illuminating account of a family's hard-fought legal battle to desegregate California schools in the years before Brown v. Board of Education. In 1944, after years of laboring as a field worker, Sylvia Mendez's father leases his own farm in Westminster, Calif. But even though Mexican-born Mr. Mendez is a U.S. citizen and his wife is Puerto Rican, their children are banned from the local public school and told they must attend the inferior "Mexican school." When all else fails, the Mendezes and four other families file a lawsuit. Readers will share Sylvia's outrage as she listens to a district superintendent denigrate Mexicans (Tonatiuh drew his words and other testimony from court transcripts). Visually, the book is in keeping with Tonatiuh's previous work, his simplified and stylized shapes drawn from Mexican artwork. He again portrays his characters' faces in profile, with collaged elements of hair, fabric, and fibrous paper lending an understated texture. An extensive author's note provides historical context (including that Sylvia Mendez received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011) and urges readers to make their own voices heard. Ages 6-9. (May)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-When the Mendezes moved to Westminster, CA, in 1944, third-grader Sylvia tried to enter Westminster School. However, the family was repeatedly told, "'Your children have to go to the Mexican school.' 'But why?' asked Mr. Mendez.'That is how it is done.'" In response, they formed the Parents' Association of Mexican-American Children, distributed petitions, and eventually filed a successful lawsuit that was supported by organizations ranging from the Japanese American Citizens League to the American Jewish Congress. Younger children will be outraged by the injustice of the Mendez family story but pleased by its successful resolution. Older children will understand the importance of the 1947 ruling that desegregated California schools, paving the way for Brown v. Board of Education seven years later. Back matter includes a detailed author's note and photographs. The excellent bibliography cites primary sources, including court transcripts and the author's interview with Sylvia Mendez, who did attend Westminster School and grew up to earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Tonatiuh's illustrations tell a modern story with figures reminiscent of the pictorial writing of the Mixtec, an indigenous people from Mexico. Here, the author deliberately connects his heritage with the prejudices of mid-20th century America. One jarring illustration of three brown children barred from a pool filled with lighter-skinned children behind a sign that reads, "No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed," will remind readers of photographs from the Jim Crow South. Compare and contrast young Sylvia Mendez's experience with Robert Coles's The Story of Ruby Bridges (Scholastic, 1995) to broaden a discussion of school desegregation.-Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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