Review of Without Separation, by Larry Dane Brimner, illustrated by Maya Gonzalez

Without Separation

Prejudice, Segregation, and the Case of Roberto Alvarez

by Larry Dane Brimner
illustrated by Maya Gonzalez

Calkins Creek (Boyds Mills & Kane), 2021. 40 pages.
Review written November 16, 2021, from a library book

Here’s a segregation story I hadn’t heard before.

At the start of 1931, when kids got back from Christmas vacation, kids of Mexican descent were turned away from Lemon Grove Grammar School in California and told they had to go to a new school built especially for them.

The new school was Olive Street School, and the school board had opened it because they believed “the Mexican children were unclean and endangered the health of every other student.”

But the parents fought back. They had told Roberto if he was turned away from Lemon Grove Grammar School, to come home and boycott the new school. The parents banded together to fight the discrimination in court. They chose Roberto to file the suit because he had been born in California and could speak English as well as any of the white kids, and got good grades. There was no good reason to send him to a different school.

This story unfolds simply. The evil school board that caused the problems only has their feet showing in the pictures. Back matter includes photographs of the children and Roberto Alvarez as an adult.

An important story that deserves to be heard.

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