Parents' Guide to

Todos Iguales / All Equal: Un Corrido De Lemon Grove / A Ballad of Lemon Grove

By Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Powerful true story of immigrants' victory for equal rights.

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This powerful, poignant, and informative true story focuses on segregation in the 1930s and a community of immigrants' hard-won fight for equal education. Todos Iguales / All Equal: Un Corrido de Lemon Grove / A Ballad of Lemon Grove can add to the current national discussion on immigration and the challenges faced not only by immigrants not only today but also decades ago. Hale's bilingual narrative, told separately in Spanish and English on each page, makes this an ideal text for readers of either language. The story itself is inspirational, and the historical and cultural detail make this an excellent book choice for learning about justice and equality, past and present. Hale's bright and dreamy illustrations also beautifully add to the narrative. For example, each character in the book is given a unique face that sets each of the main characters apart as individuals.

This picture book begins with a nine-verse ballad, or corrido,written by Hale. It tells the story of the Lemon Grove Incident and gives readers some background before they even begin reading the story. Notes at the back of the book explains "Los corridos," a bit of history, their use, and poetic structure. A history of Mexican Americans in the Lemon Grove area, along with a list of who's who in the court case, the results of the ruling, and an additional page of source notes about what happened after the ruling -- including other pivotal court rulings -- also appear at the back, along with a detailed list of sources. Here Hale also notes that illustrations for this book were inspired by vintage California citrus labels -- colorful, eye-catching labels attached to the ends of lemon crates that identified the brand, region, and product. Overall, Todos Iguales / All Equal is an informative nonfiction picture book that can serve as a great springboard for meaningful discussions about the immigrant experience, segregation, and the right to equal education.

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