Sylvia & Aki

Sylvia & Aki

Book - 2011
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At the start of World War II, Japanese-American third-grader Aki and her family are sent to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona, while Mexican-American third-grader Sylvia's family leases their Orange County, California, farm and begins a fight to stop school segregation.
Publisher: Berkeley [Calif.] : Tricycle Press, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781582463377
Branch Call Number: J FICTION CONKLING
Characteristics: vii, 151 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Sylvia and Aki


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Jul 21, 2014

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Jul 21, 2014


litriocht Jun 17, 2014

This story is told through the perspectives of two young girls, Sylvia and Aki. Sylvia Mendez is a girl whose parents are from Puerto Rico and Mexico, while Aki Munemitsu's parents were born in Japan.

Although both children are American citizens, they are not always treated as well as other Americans. Sylvia is denied admittance to the public school near her and is told that she must go to the school for Mexicans, instead. In response, Sylvia's father sues the school district in order to fight segregation. The Mendez family wins the case, a precedent which was later used to support the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

Meanwhile, the United States government has sent Aki to an internment camp created to detain people with Japanese ancestry during World War II. The lives of the two children have intersected because Sylvia's family is maintaining the Munemitsu asparagus farm while the Japanese-American family is being confined.

This account of two girls who form a friendship during tough times is set against a larger backdrop of historical events. Much of the dialogue during the Mendez case was taken directly from court documents. Internment camps lacked privacy and were crowded. Readers can learn more facts about this true story in the afterword. A bibliography of research materials is also provided.


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