Separate Is Never Equal

Separate Is Never Equal

Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Book - 2014
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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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014
ISBN: 9781419710544
Branch Call Number: 379.263 To
Description: 40 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm


From Library Staff

Sylvia Mendez is denied the same education given other children based solely on her skin color and Mexican heritage, and her family begins the fight for equal educational opportunities for all Hispanics. JNF 379.263

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caleherreman Sep 21, 2020

This is a book about an important, but overlooked, milestone in the struggle for civil rights.

Told from the point of view of Sylvia Mendez, it is the story of her parents' efforts to change a system that had Mexican-American children going to inadequate, segregated schools, and justified it with false narratives about race and culture.

Author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh depicts the situation a in a Mexican folk art style that gives the characters and their heritage a dignity that the racist society they struggled against tried to deny them.

Sep 07, 2020

I liked the book, but not the art. I got this book because a father was appalled that a teacher was using this book to teach students to feel guilty and hate themselves for being white. The book does not teach these things, although a teacher could try to spin that racist message. This book is the true story of a girl dealing with discrimination and segregation. People nowadays need to be careful not to go down that same racist path. I hear whites are not being allowed in some areas/businesses/gatherings. Rioters, looters, and arsonists are sparing black owned businesses but not others. Reverse racism is still racism.

JuliaK_KCMO Mar 31, 2017

Long before Brown v. Board of Education, there was a little Mexiccan-American girl in California who wondered why she and her brothers had to go to school in a far-away shack while other children -- including her own fairer-skinned cousins -- attended the nicer one in their own neighborhood. Tonatiuh's simple but powerful story shows how the Mendez family helped end desegregation in California schools.

JCLMichelleR Mar 03, 2017

I regret to say that I had no prior knowledge of this powerful fight for desegregation in California. Tonatiuh does a remarkable job making this case and story accessible to children. It is important to continually fight the lies of racial inferiority and work to embrace each other and lift each other up to our full potential.

Jan 17, 2017

Good coverage of an early desegregation case. Was not too keen on the artist's interpretation of people's mouths.

JCLBeckyC Jan 17, 2017

Kids of all backgrounds can relate to this story of young Sylvia and her family as they fight for fair treatment, leading to the 1947 ruling that desegregated California schools seven years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

Apr 07, 2016

"When you fight for justice, others will follow.", said Sylvia's mother. That's one of the important take-aways from this true story of the fight initiated by one family to integrate schools in California.

LMcShaneCLE Feb 13, 2016

This civil rights case predates Brown vs. the Board of Education and shows how segregation also affected Americans with heritage from Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Sylvia was told she had to go to the Mexican school, even though she and her parents were Americans and spoke English, and the Mexican school was farther from their home in Orange County. The lawsuit that her family brought—and won—helped pave the way for the Brown v. Board of Education. Picture book format.


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Sep 07, 2020

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 5 years and over

Apr 07, 2016

DUVALL LIBRARY thinks this title is suitable for 6 years and over


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