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Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising (original 2000; edition 2002)

by Pam Munoz Ryan, Pam Munoz Ryan

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5,195571861 (4.19)73
Title:Esperanza Rising
Authors:Pam Munoz Ryan
Other authors:Pam Munoz Ryan
Info:Scholastic (2002), Paperback, 262 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Lit Circle Book

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Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2000)


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English (567)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All languages (570)
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Esperanza is the young daughter of a wealthy vineyard owner in Mexico. When disaster strikes and everything she once held dear is stripped from her, Esperanza is forced to flee from Mexico with her mother and start a new life as a migrant field worker in California. The transition from living like a princess in Mexico to the impoverished conditions in the migrant worker camp during the Great Depression is hard for Esperanza as she learns how to deal with hardship, loss, change, and finding hope in the midst of despair. Esperanza's mother then becomes very sick and is placed in a hospital, leaving Esperanza alone without a parent to rely on. This ultimately leads Esperanza to courageously begin to create a new life in the migrant camp as she works to pay for her mother's hospital bills. Throughout it all, Esperanza finds a new community and new hope regardless of her circumstances.

This story was thought-provoking and profound; a must-read in any upper-elementary classroom. Dealing with difficult topics such as Human Rights and justice, this book gives students a look into the Mexican culture from a unique perspective. This book addresses the situation of migrant workers during the Great Depression and the injustice of the system they entered into. This book teaches resiliency and the ability to find hope against all odds and regardless of life circumstances. This was an inspiring and beautifully written story.

-Jane Addams Children's Book Awards for Book for Older Children
-Pura Belpré Award for Writing

Award Descriptions:
-Jane Addams Children's Book Awards for Book for Older Children: Awarded to one book per year for excellence in children's literature promoting peace, social justice, world community and equality. The awards have been presented annually since 1953.
-Pura Belpré Award for Writing: A recognition presented to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth. The award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. Established in 1996.

APA citation: Ryan, P. M., Cepeda, J., & Kostiw, M. (2000). Esperanza rising. New York: Scholastic Press. ( )
  BrittaSchlect | Oct 9, 2016 |
Esperanza Rising is also a must read and must have book in your classroom. This book can be used during a multicultural lesson and the dynamics of a family. Esperanza is young girl living in Mexico, her family endures a life changing situation that makes Esperanza and her mother flee from Mexico and go to California. Her princess life is turned upside down and the of her future too uncertainty. This is very unsetting and hard on Esperanza. Throughout the book she learns how to deal with the change and find herself again amongst all the changes her and her mother are going through. Must read book for upper elementary kids.
  AngelaCarchi | Sep 14, 2016 |
This is a great book on how someone can overcome any obstacles. If you would like your children to learn that they can do anything no matter how hard or rough it is then I would highly suggest this book. It also gives students a new look into a different culture. ( )
  haleyr03 | Sep 8, 2016 |
"Esperanza Rising" is a story about a Mexican girl's journey as a field immigrant in the United States. During the 1930's, agriculture in the U.S. was blooming for a cultures. Many Asian, Mexican, Latino, and others worked in agricultural camps through many crop seasons. Esperanza, unfortunately, got to these camps as a wealthy Mexican girl who lost her father to a bandit in Mexico. In order for her mother to prevent marriage to Esperanza's uncle, she migrated to the U.S. where her servants would help her find work and a future.
Esperanza was not used to the "peasant life" and she struggled with the idea that now, she wasn't the "reina" of El Rancho de Las Rosas, she was equal in the camp; she has to figure things out on her own.
With time and family support, Esperanza is able to find herself again and see others as part of herself now.

This book is useful to talk about the Mexican culture and immigration. News are about that and students can experience that effect through literature. Also, this book does a great job reflecting the seasons with a crop. Students could relate to Esperanza and d scribe what they would do if they went through her journey? Was Esperanza right to think that way throughout the book? Could she be justified, based on how she was raised? ( )
  kimgalv | Sep 3, 2016 |
Esperanza Rising is about a young girl who has a wonderful life, that is until something terrible happens. She lived on El Rancho de las Rosas in Mexico, where her family owned the land and were rich. They had servants who did everything for them, and they had workers who work on their farms. They had the perfect life. Esperanza was getting ready for her birthday celebration when something bad happened. Her father was killed by bandits. Esperanza and her mother were left with only the house and whatever was contained in it. The land was given to Papa's step-brother since women couldn't own land. That is when more bad things happened. Esperanza uncle burned down the house because Esperanza's mother refused to marry him. That left them with nothing. Esperanza had lost her father, and home. Esperanza and her mother planned to travel to the U.S to get away from her mean uncle. So they traveled secretly with some of their servants (Alfonso, Hortensia, Miguel). While they travel they have to leave Esperanza's grandma behind to get better from her getting hurt in the fire, but before they leave she promises her grandchild that they will reunite one day. She leaves her with some encouraging words, "Don't be afraid to start over," (p.49) Throughout their travel, Esperanza doesn't resize that her and her mother are now poor and will have to actually work for money. On the train she wonders why they are sitting with peasants, and in her mind she feels as though when they get to the U.S life well be the same as in Mexico. They will have a big house and servants to tend to their every need. But is she wrong. Once they get to California she learns the lesson hard that they are now peasants. She complains about everything and gets embarrassed a lot because doesn't know how to do peasant things like sweep. But with a little help she learns. Life is somewhat ok, until her mother gets sick. Her mother gets so bad that she has to go stay at the hospital. This leaves Esperanza to step up and become the working person in the family. Her viewpoint on life changes after that. She realizes that life is not all about party's and pretty dresses. She works out in the sheds everyday paying for her mother's doctor bills and medicine. Plus, putting a little aside in money orders. She was hoping to save money up to send to her grandma, so she come to the U.S and help make her mother better. Esperanza's mother stays in the hospital for 5 months. Before she comes home Esperanza's money orders go missing. She believes Miguel took it for his travel to find work after their fight. When her mother finally comes home, so doe Miguel with a surprise for Esperanza. He has traveled back to Mexico to bring Esperanza's grandma to the U.S. The story ends with the family celebrating Esperanza's 14th birthday. A Birthday not like one from the past, but it was still a celebration none the less.

This story is a good read for a 5th grader to read by themselves. I feel that a 4th grade teacher could read it to their class as a whole. It is an easy book to follow with not a lot of big words. It is a great book for those classes who are learning both English and Spanish. It has plenty of Spanish's words, and beside these words they translate it in English. For example, "Buena Suzette, good luck," (p.78). I really enjoyed reading this book that I couldn't put it down until I was done. It teaches a good lesson. That lesson is that life isn't about money and fancy things. While those things can be nice to have, they can easily disappear. The most important thing in life is family. This is a lesson I feel the world needs to learn, me being a part of that. So overall it is a good read for everyone to read.

The teacher could already have the Spanish words written on the board or a large white piece of paper. With this the teacher could go over the words before she gets to it in the book to help the students learn Spanish. Once they get to the word in the book could draw a picture beside the word. For example, the word Abuelita means grandma in English.
The teacher could draw picture to help the students understand the book better. For example, draw the journal of Esperanza's life from Mexico to California.
Have the students do a think aloud or even write about if they were Esperanza's, how would they feel?

Craft Elements:
The teacher could assign a writing assignment to the class to compare and contrast their life to the life of Esperanza's.
The book is set during the time period of the Great Depression. The teacher could tie this book into teaching her class about the Great Depression.
  Kim_Brewer2017 | Aug 27, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pam Muñoz Ryanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 043912042X, Paperback)

A reissue of Pam Munoz Ryan's bestselling backlist with a distinctive new author treatment.

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:38 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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