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Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and…

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for…

by Duncan Tonatiuh

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47510032,846 (4.4)1



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This is an honest inspirational book for children of all ages. It is based on the true story of the author's family and their struggle to end segregated schools, originally in Orange County California, but eventually helped paved the way for the Brown V. Board of Education lawsuit in 1954 which desegregated schools in the United States.
The story is set in the late 1940s and begins with the children in Sylvia's family being forced to enroll in the 'Mexican' school even though the children were born in America and spoke perfect English. Sylvia cannot understand why she should be forced to attend a different school simply because her skin is a different color and her last name is Mendez, but through some brutally honest (racist) language at the trial, Sylvia finds out it is based on ignorance and fear.
I love that the book did not dance around the issue with kid-friendly wording. Racism is not nice and it is much easier for children to understand the ignorance of it when presented with honest wording.
It is easy to understand why this book won so many awards, the illustrations are unique and beautiful, the story is woven with historical accuracies, and the story is as informative and significant today as it was seventy years ago. ( )
  JSkoros | Apr 21, 2019 |
The story of Sylvia Mendez, a Mexican-American child, who experienced racial segregation in the public schools in California. Her story is the basis for the famous court case Mendez v Westminster which confronted racial segregation in the public schools in California. ( )
  francescaimig | Apr 19, 2019 |
Before there was Brown vs. the Board of Education, there was Mendez vs. Westminster. Separate Is Never Equal is the story of school segregation in California and the fight to end it. When Sylvia Mendez and her family, all American citizens, moved to Westminster, CA, they were immediately told that they could not enroll in the public school closest to them. Despite their citizenship and perfect English, they were told that the children would have to enroll in the "Mexican school" - a far inferior educational facility. The Mendez family was unwilling to accept this discrimination and filed a lawsuit. Their triumph over segregation in California paved the way for later victories in other states and eventually the end of school segregation with Brown vs. the Board of Education. This book shares an important and little-known milestone in the fight for equality and should be more widely taught. It's an excellent lesson for kids on why segregation was wrong and how it hurt many Americans, allowing children to feel what it may have been like to walk in Sylvia's shoes. ( )
  adrouet | Mar 27, 2019 |
This picture book is a representation of a Mexican American family that was denied access to a public school and got sent to the inferior "Mexican school." Sylvia's Father was not pleased by his children being denied from a fair education and therefore decided to fight for the rights of equal education for his children. After petitions and lawsuits, Sylvia's father gathered other families to join his lawsuit, surprisingly, families from different backgrounds such as Japanese and Jewish people joined to support. Finally, the lawsuit was in their favor and Sylvia, along with many other Mexican American children were offered an equal education. This book is a perfect resource for a social studies class as a social movement and culture introduction. Great illustrations and a true story. ( )
  Bns047 | Mar 16, 2019 |
Picture book. This book is about a Mexican family who immigrates to the U.S and the kids are trying to get into the school closes to them, but they aren't allowed in because "They needed to go to the Mexican school." The family refused and tried to get their kids in the first school but no matter who they talked to it was always the same answer. So they went to the Mexican school, it was dirty, far and not near the caliber to the other school. Outraged, the family took the school bored to court and ended up winning the case allowing Mexican student to attend the nicer school. ( )
  Nick1009 | Dec 2, 2018 |
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"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"--… (more)

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