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Sylvia Mendez: A Pioneer for Equality in Education

Sylvia Mendez: A Pioneer for Equality in Education

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ISBN: 9781680206791.00

Dewey Number: 379.0

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Sylvia Mendez was just like any other third grader in 1946. She liked to learn. She enjoyed recess. But her school was in terrible shape. She wanted to go to the 17th Street School. This was the school that the white children in her city of Westminster attended. But it had a whites-only policy that kept Mexican American children like Sylvia out. Sylvia and her family did not think this policy was fair, so they decided to sue the school district. Their willingness to stand up for equality in education paved the way for all California schools to become desegregated. The historic court case even played a role in the more famous Brown v. Board of Education, which made school segregation illegal in all 50 U.S. states. There's even more interesting information about this pioneer in education inside.

Gr 4-6–Notable Hispanic Americans are profiled in these six volumes. Each book begins with a fictional exchange among youngsters, who discuss how they plan to emulate the subject. This is followed by information about the individual’s life from childhood to the present. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Nydia Velazquez were the first Cuban American and Puerto Rican American elected to Congress, where they fought for the rights of their constituents. Mario Molina’s interest in chemistry made him a pioneer in protecting the ozone. Sylvia Mendez continued to fight for educational rights long after her parents won a court decision to allow her to attend white schools. The struggle of each is related. For example, Molina faced opposition with his theory on chlorofluorocarbons and their effect on the atmosphere. The narratives are informative but not exciting. Readers might question why these people are considered “Unsung Heroes” given the numerous awards and accolades they have received. VERDICT Informative but dull, this series will be used for reports but browsers will pass. Purchase where there is a demand or to support the curriculum.--School Library Journal, November 1, 2020

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