Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

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Seven years before Brown v. Board of Education, the Mendez family fought to end segregation in California schools. Discover their incredible story in this picture book from award-winning creator Duncan Tonatiuh

A Pura Belpr Illustrator Honor Book and Robert F. Sibert Honor Book

When her family moved to the town of Westminster, California, young Sylvia Mendez was excited about enrolling in her neighborhood school. But she and her brothers were turned away and told they had to attend the Mexican school instead. Sylvia could not understand why--she was an American citizen who spoke perfect English. Why were the children of Mexican families forced to attend a separate school? Unable to get a satisfactory answer from the school board, the Mendez family decided to take matters into its own hands and organize a lawsuit.

In the end, the Mendez family's efforts helped bring an end to segregated schooling in California in 1947, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in schools across America.

Using his signature illustration style and incorporating his interviews with Sylvia Mendez, as well as information from court files and news accounts, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the inspiring story of the Mendez family's fight for justice and equality.


Author: Duncan Tonatiuh
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Published: 05/06/2014
Pages: 40
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.02lbs
Size: 11.10h x 9.30w x 0.60d
ISBN: 9781419710544
Audience: Ages 4-8

Accelerated Reader:
Reading Level: 5.1
Point Value: 0.5
Interest Level: Lower Grade
Quiz #/Name: 164558 / Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Award: Georgia Children's Book Award - Finalist
Award: Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award - Honor Book
Award: Americas Award for Children & Young Adult Literature - Winner
Award: Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens - Recommended
Award: Jane Addams Children's Book Award - Winner
Award: Beehive Awards - Nominee
Award: Orbis Pictus Award - Honor Book
Award: Bluebonnet Awards - Nominee
Award: Pura Belpre Award - Honor Book
Award: Alabama Camellia Award - Nominee
Award: Cybils - Finalist

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 03/03/2014
Booklist 05/01/2014 pg. 89
School Library Journal 05/01/2014 pg. 151
Kirkus Reviews 06/01/2014
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 07/01/2014 pg. 600
Horn Book Magazine 07/01/2014 pg. 119
Kirkus Best Picture Books 11/15/2014 pg. 74
SLJ's Best Books 12/01/2014 pg. 28
Hornbook Guide to Children 07/01/2014 pg. 144 - Superior,Well Above Average
School Library Journal 02/01/2017

About the Author
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.