Sylvia & Aki
By Winifred Conkling
(Tricycle Press, Hardcover, 9781582463377, 160pp.)
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
List Price: $16.99*
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Aki never expected to be relocated to a Japanese internment camp in the Arizona desert; all she wanted was to stay on her family farm and finish the school year.
The two girls certainly never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected in Southern California during a time when their country changed forever.
Here is the remarkable story based on true events of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu, two ordinary girls living in extraordinary times. When Sylvia and her brothers are not allowed to register at the same school Aki attended and are instead sent to a "Mexican" school, the stage is set for Sylvia's father to challenge in court the separation of races in California's schools. Ultimately, Mendez vs. Westminster School District led to the desegregation of California schools and helped build the case that would end school segregation nationally.
Through extensive interviews with Sylvia and Aki--still good friends to this day--Winifred Conkling brings to life two stories of persistent courage in the face of tremendous odds.