Todos Iguales/All Equal

By School Library Journal

It is 1930, and young student Roberto Álvarez loves school in Lemon Grove, where Mexican and Anglo children learn and play together. When Roberto’s family and neighbors discover the school board is planning to create a separate school for the children of Mexican families, they create the Lemon Grove Neighbors Committee, meet with the Mexican consul, and file a lawsuit against the school board. Roberto is chosen to show that the claims the school board is making—that the students were being sent to the second school to receive special attention because they needed additional help—are untrue. Roberto’s concise and educated answers (shown to be spoken in complete English) help to convince the judge that separating the children is unjust. Beautiful, stylized illustrations depict the events and individuals’ personalities clearly. Text in both English and Spanish accompanies the illustrations, making this a nonfiction book that will be widely accessible to readers of one or both languages. The book includes a corrido, or ballad, of the events of Lemon Grove, as well as pages with more information about the case and the participants, what happened after the case, and additional details about corridos. A source page brings these elements together to create a deeply knowledgeable text about an important time in our history. VERDICT Bilingual text and eye-catching illustrations join a treasure of additional resources to create this significant text. Highly recommended for nonfiction collections for young readers, and perfect for use alongside titles such as Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh.