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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LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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LC214.2 .T66 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Reading List
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Summary

Summary

A 2015 Pura Belpré 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 Belpré 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 Belpré Honor for Illustration, and Diego Rivera won the 2012 Pura Belpré 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 1-4-When Sylvia Mendez moved to Westminster, California, in the 1940s, she quickly found out that not everyone was welcome in her new neighborhood. Sylvia and her brother have to attend the "Mexican" school-Hoover School. Hoover is situated next to a cow field, had an electric fence, dirty halls, no playground, and unmotivated teachers, while local white children went to the much better 17th Street Elementary School. Eventually, the Mendez family and others filed a lawsuit, Mendez v. Westminster, that predated Brown v. Board of Education by almost 10 years. It would desegregate schools in California, affecting more than 5,000 Latino children. Carefully taking actual text from trials and interviews with Sylvia Mendez, Tonatiuh edits the original language to fit the pacing of the story for the intended audience. Legal terms and Spanish words are translated and explained so young listeners will be able to comprehend this important story. Adriana Sananes narrates efficiently. Her voice uses various pitches for characters and paces her reading so listeners can keep up with the many names, places, and terms. This CD version includes an author's note and information about the text included in the story. An extremely important story that should be widely known. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Katie Llera, Bound Brook High School, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.