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Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising (2000)

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (626)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All (629)
Showing 1-5 of 626 (next | show all)
I've read this story approximately 23 times and about half of them were when I was 12. I just did a quick reread of this and it still makes my heart pitter patter every time I think about it.

Esperanza is a carefree 13 year old living in Mexico with a wealthy father, a loving mother and her wise Abuela. She anxiously awaits the day she turns 15 and has her quiceañera and finally be taken more seriously as a woman. But the worst thing imaginable happens: her father and uncle are ambushed in a secluded part of their land and only her uncle escaped the murder. Soon after he proposes marriage so suddenly and out of the blue literally after yet another tragic event, Esperanza's mother Ramona realizes that perhaps Tio shady (not his real name ha ha) is not entirely being nice to them in order to be helpful. So they pack up and go to the United States in hopes of finding a better life there.

With the help of their old friends Alfonso and Hortensia they settle into life as farm workers in Great Depression era California. All Esperanza is able to take with her is a doll her father was planning on giving her on her birthday and a blanket she had been making with her Abuela that she rescued from the fire and ended up injuring her foot for. This book touches upon Mexican laborers during the Great Depression, strikes over wages, work competition from the "okies", discrimination, the Mexican revolution, deportations, and living conditions of these people. But the main theme that comes back time and time again is the hope for a better future.

I never imagined how much I would still like this book about 14 years after I first read it. I'm a twenty something year old and the only thing that changed is that I got weepier over certain events that I didn't understand until maybe a few years ago since the last reread of mine. It's a great book for discussions and a fabulous introduction to Mexican culture, traditions, and history for those who want a quick crash course. And I can say this as a Mexican-American with born and raised parents from Mexico. ( )
  Jessika.C | Dec 25, 2017 |
This book was discussed in regular class assignments.
  Kathrin.McCoy | Nov 28, 2017 |
Summary- This story tells of a young girl from Mexico who faced many trials during the Great Depression. She and her family are forced to move to California to work. The book tells of her point of view and the struggles that she endured. Her life is threatened, yet she finds a way to look past her circumstances and remain hopeful.

Personal Reaction- This book made me more aware of people from other places who were hurt during the Great Depression. Growing up, I mostly learned about the Great Depression from stories throughout the United States so it was new for me. My heart broke for this little girl and her family. I love that she was so resilient and strong. I feel that I share those traits with her even though our stories are so different.

Classroom Extensions- The class will do a study over the Great Depression so that they can understand just how difficult that time was.
The class will answer multiple discussion questions about the story to test their knowledge. ( )
  Kateburke23 | Oct 31, 2017 |
This is the story of Esperanza, a girl who grew up in Mexico in a life of luxury and privilege. After the death of her father she is forced to adjust to life as an agricultural worker in a farm camp in California during the Great Depression. Servants had always done everything for her, so she needed to learn basic skills like bathing herself, cooking, and sweeping. She had to come to terms with the fact that she was no longer part of the upper class, and had to face racism and discrimination. She got swept up in the politics of labor unions and all the new arrivals from Mexico and Oklahoma who were willing to work for any wages at all. When her mother became sick she had to step up and try to keep her family together. ( )
  Tarawyn | Oct 19, 2017 |
The book, Esperanza Rising, in my opinion was very well done to portray the life of Esperanza and all of the struggles she had to overcome once her father passed away. Specifically, the characters in the book were shown very strongly. Esperanza, the main character, was showcased as a rich young girl who later experienced poverty. She was an incredibly dynamic character who's viewpoints shifted after struggling. For example, she initially thinks as her friend Miguel as less than her, saying that they stand on opposite sides of the river. However, later on in the story, she tells Miguel that they are equals, both striving for success and riches. She makes this realization from the support of her close family and friends, specifically her mother, who appreciate all that they have no matter the given condition. The characters all work together to find a better life for themselves and motivate one-another to succeed.
Another attribute I liked about the book is that is pushes readers to think about tough issues and broadens perspectives. The tragic events that happen to Esperanza's family within the first 50 pages of the book exposes readers to a different experience. The author goes into detail about how the family crossed the boarder, while Esperanza hid under a wagon and could only take a few important items with her. Her father had passed away and the family was dealing with huge financial struggles all while the area was experiencing a cultural shift in migration. It felt like obstacle after obstacle hit Esperanza and her family and they just had to keep persevering through it all. These prominent experiences and hardships in the book open a new perspective to readers while exposing them to difficult situations. Overall, the central message of the book is that people should never give up and should always persevere in hard times to strive for success. ( )
  rboras1 | Oct 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 626 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pam Muñoz Ryanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cepeda, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Aquel que hoy se cae, se levantará mañana.
He who falls today may rise tomorrow.

Es más rico el rico cuando empobrece que el pobre cuando enriquece.
The rich person is richer when he becomes poor, than the poor person when he becomes rich.

- Mexican proverbs
To the memory of Esperana Ortega Muñoz Hernandez Elgart, mi abuelita.

Baskets of grapes to my editor, Tracy Mack, for patiently waiting for fruit to fall.

Roses to Ozella Bell, Jess Marquez, Don Bell, and Hope Muñoz Bell for sharing their stories.

Smooth stones and yarn dolls to Ibabel Schon, PhD., and Leticia Guadarrama, Teresa Mlawerr, and Macarena Salas for their expertise and assistance.
First words
"Our land is alive, Esperanza," said Papa, taking her small hand as they walked through the gentle slopes of the vineyard.
Did you know that when you lie down on the land, you can feel it breathe? That you can feel it's heart beating?
"We are like the phoenix," said Abuelita. "Rising again, with a new life ahead of us."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Esperanza grows up on a Mexican farm in a wealthy family. When her father is killed, she and her mother lose everything and must migrate to the US. There she must work and live as a poor immigrant. Finally, at the end, she and her family are reunited with her grandmother, who had to stay in Mexico due to injury.
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Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.… (more)

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