Duncan Tonatiuh brings an important story to life for children in his newest book, Separate Is Never Equal, but really it's about more than being an important story. This is a story that children will relate to, will be able to imagine going through themselves.
Separate Is Never Equal:Sylvia Mendez and her family fought for their right to go to their local neighborhood school in Westminster, California. The school district placed Sylvia and her brothers in the “Mexican school” school because of their skin tone and surname. They filed a court case, eventually winning the first legal challenge to the decades-old practice of "separate but equal."
Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Your public library
*best new book*
Tonatiuh combines clear text and folk-inspired art to bring this important story to children. I especially like how child-centered the story is. All children will appreciate how much their parents want the best education for them, and how unfair the segregated system was in California.
I highly recommend a short video available through PBS Learning Media: Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children/Para Todos los Niños, produced by Sandra Robbie.
|click for link to PBS Learning Media|
You might also find these resources interesting to share with students:
- StoryCorps Interview with Sylvia and Sandra Mendez (audio)
- "Before 'Brown V. Board,' Mendez Fought California's Segregated Schools", NPR Radio
- Sylvia Mendez's website
©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books