Monday, June 9, 2014

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation, by Duncan Tonatiuh (ages 6-9)

How do we make history meaningful for our children? Make it meaningful and relevant. My students are definitely interested in the Civil Rights Movement and especially the battle for school desegregation, but they always want to know what it was like here in California.

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’s Fight for Desegregation
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Abrams, 2014
Your public library
ages 6-9
*best new book
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."

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
This short video (8 minutes) combines original photographs with present day interviews. Seeing Sylvia today and hearing directly from her makes the story even more "real" to students. Many students find video a very powerful learning tool, and I consistently find PBS Learning Media and excellent resource. This would be a very effective way to provide more background information to this story, both with primary sources and expert interviews.

You might also find these resources interesting to share with students:
The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Abrams Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

No comments:

Post a Comment