Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

by Duncan Tonatiuh
Published 2014 by Harry N. Abrahms
Nonfiction Picture Book
40 Pages
Review copy obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

My Thoughts
This story of the Mendez family's fight to allow their children (and all children) to attend their neighborhood school is an important story to share. It shows how real change happens when people work together for what is right. Duncan Tonatiuh does a wonderful job of telling the story so that children will understand what was happening during the time period. With a good amount of text on each page, I feel that this book is a great one to share with older students. I recommend it for grades 2-5.  

Use this book:
As part of a unit on civil rights.
As a way to discuss fairness and equality.
As a mentor text to discuss character traits. 

The author discusses the book in this video.

Here is a nice book trailer

Here is a 4 minute video about Sylvia's story.


  1. I liked this book so much, and was particularly taken by the style of art that was used. There aren't really any other books for kids about this aspect of civil rights. Thanks for sharing it with us today.

  2. I was surprised that I have been teaching in SoCal for so long and never really heard about this case. I have given the book to several teachers and principals that I know. Thanks for sharing it this week...great post.

  3. Two blogs highlighted this book today! I have it in my library pile, and I really need to get to it!

  4. Thank you for putting all of this together Gigi. I just watched all of the videos while folding my laundry and really enjoyed learning all of this background information.

  5. Hi there Gigi, I'm glad that you shared so many other resources about this important book. You and Earl are on the same wavelength this week. :)

  6. I love this book - it was a wonderful surprise find last year and I'm so glad to have seen it get some recognition this year! Thanks for the extra resources!