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Esperanza Rising (2000)

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,315791814 (4.21)100
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.

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English (785)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All languages (788)
Showing 1-5 of 785 (next | show all)
Independent Reading Level: Grades 4-up
Awards: Pura Belpré Narrative Award (2002)
Jane Addams Children's Book Award for Older Children (2001)
  Koryn | May 5, 2022 |
Independent Reading Level: 4-5
Awards: Pura Belpre Awards (2002), ALSC Notable Children's Books (2002), Jane Addams Children's Book Awards (2001), Notable Books for a Global Society (2001), Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts Award (2001), CCBC Choices (2001), Americas Award (2000)
  fwitherow | May 5, 2022 |
Such a great novel that gives the perspective of a teenager who works hard to live in America. ( )
  Mia_Cha | Apr 23, 2022 |
This is middle-grade fiction. Pretty good middle grade fiction. It's about a Spanish girl Esperanza born in a wealthy family. Her father died tragically when she was 13, and her relatives swindled the Esperanza and her mother out of the fortune they should have received from her father's will. In order to escape further persecution from the relatives, Esperanza and her mother traveled to southern California and became farm workers for a large U. S. agricultural company. This is a story of how Esperanza underwent tragedy and culture (class) shock to grow as a person. My favorite parts were when Esperanza opened her father's birthday present for her after her father's sudden death, and at the end of the book when Esperanza reunited with her grandmother from Mexico. The author is good at writing tear-jerking family vignettes! ( )
  CathyChou | Mar 11, 2022 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 5-7 (appropriate for 4th)

Plot Summary: The night before Esperanza's birthday, her father doesn't come home from the fields. Worried, beloved servants go out looking for him and come home with awful news. He was murdered by bandits. Her home is left to her and her mother, but the land is not allowed to be owned by a women, so it's willed to Esperanza's uncle. With greed and power as his motivation, Tio Luis offers to marry Ramona so that she can continue to live in the house, but threatens to send Esperanza to boarding school. Ramona refuses the offer. Later, their house burns down. With nowhere to live and fear of Tio Luis controlling them, heartbroken Ramona and Esperanza sneak to the United States, with the help of their former servants. They must leave Abuelita behind, who injured her ankle getting out of the burning house. How will Esperanza adapt to live as poor person, and without her father? How will Esperanza and her mother adapt to the changes? How will they get money to bring Abuelita to them?

Setting: Mexico, early 1900s

Esperanza Ortega -
Ramona - Esperanza's mom, strong-willed, smart, kind
Papa - AKA Sixto Ortega
Abuelita - Esperanza's grandmother, knits
Miguel - former servant, used to be Esperanza's best friend until Esperanza made Miguel feel strange about the divide between servant and employer, learned how to take care of the land from his dad and Sixto, huge heart, kind, patient
Alfonso - former servant, Miguel's dad
Hortensia - former servant, Miguel's dad
Josefina - Miguel's aunt
Isabel - Josefina's daughter, goes to school, teaches Esperanza how to take care of the babies
Marta - leader of a strike
Pepe and Lupe - babies
Melina and Irene - girls at the camp who agreed to watch the babies so Esperanza can work

Recurring Themes: racism, greed, power, family, grief, strength, loss, mental health

Controversial Issues: Dad dies in first chapter

Personal Thoughts: This book is beautifully written and is a touching story. I just haven't gotten kids to pick it up. It doesn't read like historical fiction, because many of the same things are probably still happening today.

Genre: historical fiction

Pacing: fast-medium
Characters: very well developed, not too many

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Jan 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 785 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ryan, Pam MuñozAuthorprimary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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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Average: (4.21)
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