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Esperanza Rising (McDougal Littell Library)…

Esperanza Rising (McDougal Littell Library) (original 2000; edition 2002)

by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Author)

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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.
Title:Esperanza Rising (McDougal Littell Library)
Authors:Pam Muñoz Ryan (Author)
Info:Scholastic (2002), 262 pages
Collections:Your library

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Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Author) (2000)


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The time is during the Great Depression. Esperanza has become used to a life of privilege, filled with beautiful dresses, servants and a loving Mama, Papa and Abuelita always there to take care of her. But when tragedy strikes, Esperanza and her mother must flee their ranch in Mexico and settle in a camp for farm laborers in California. She now faces a life of hard work and financial hardship. Things get even more tough when her mother gets sick and the workers go on strike. Esperanza must find a way to rise above her struggles and face her challenges head on, because their lives depend on it.
  jessicamusgrave | Jul 18, 2021 |
I know I read Esperanza Rising when I was in middle school, but that was so long ago that when I picked this up a week ago, I remembered absolutely nothing about it. Not even a vague recollection of the story. Sometimes, a fleeting memory is a good thing, because it means you get to experience a book for the first time, again. So it was with this one.

This is such an impressive book. Pam Muñoz Ryan hits just the right notes to have a conversation about racism, sexism, xenophobia… without making the book inaccessible to younger readers. There’s little wonder why Esperanza Rising is taught in so many schools. It’s a well-written book, but it also broadens students’ minds. Books like this… books like this are why we need more Own Voices authors. A white author could not accurately recreate the immigration process and the struggle of living in migrant work camps. Muñoz Ryan is half Mexican, and it’s clear her Latinx heritage informs the storytelling.

But Esperanza Rising is more than just an issue story – though the realities of daily life do define the journey. Esperanza is coming into her own as well. After suffering from a deep personal tragedy early in the book, Esperanza and her mother flee to California. Here, they have to come to terms with their new socio-economic situation and trying to be accepted both in the community and in the country. Esperanza struggles to keep hope throughout the book… and like the very best of young reader stories, she has to find the strength from within.

The cast of characters surrounding our protagonist are also fantastic. We have the kind wisdom of Abulita. The passion and determination of the protestors to make sure they are treated well and given a fair wage for their work. Miguel is kind and steady. Isabelle is sweet and caring. They’re all wonderful and I enjoyed every one of them.

If I were to list just one fault with Esperanza Rising, I would say: it’s too short. I think the story is well told in the pages we have, but I do think the story could have been fleshed out even more. There are opportunities here for multiple POVs as well. That said, back in 2000 when this was first published, we had childrens books and adult books and no clearly defined in-between. In that way, Esperanza Rising falls into the “childrens” category. I’d say it is accessible and enjoyable for everyone, but given the intended audience, the simplicity of some things makes sense.

Despite all that, the world is well fleshed out, the characters come to life, and the story keeps the reader engrossed. I’d recommend this book all around. ( )
  Morteana | May 6, 2021 |
This novel is a great reflection of the various troubles and hardships brought to different families due to the Great Depression and how it drastically affected many lives. In Esperanza Rising, Esperanza had to flee from everything she knew at the Mexican ranch she lived at and was moved to California to a refugee camp for Mexican workers. She experienced a lot of struggles and poverty she previously was not familiar with and used her journey and struggles to grow. I would highly recommend this book to book adults and young adolescents alike. I feel like this story helps create empathy regarding the struggles of others, is based around a historical event (the Great Depression) and is just overall a good read. ( )
  RoaneRayL | Apr 29, 2021 |
This novel contains such a wonderful story and is one of the many books I plan to share with my future students. Based on the life of the author's grandmother, Esperanza Rising is the story of young Esperanza who has to flee from her rich life on a Mexican ranch during the Great Depression (1930). Now, living in a camp for Mexican workers in California, she experiences hard labor, poverty, and hostility for the first time. Esperanza Rising is a captivating story about immigration, assimilation, and a young girl’s growth in the face of sudden change and adversity. This novel deals with issues, such as financial struggles and lack of acceptance, that I would love to dive into deeper with my students. I could incorporate this novel into many types of lessons (English or history) and use it as a resource when discussing the Great Depression. Esperanza Rising is such a moving story that I want all of my students to have the opportunity to read it. The author's clear and poetic language trap the reader into the novel and put the reader in Esperanza's shoes. This book offers excellent opportunities for curriculum support and discussion, which is one of the many reasons why I am so excited to share this novel with my students! ( )
  Madimurphy33 | Apr 21, 2021 |
Well-crafted tale, full of characters it’s a delight to root for! In addition, I'm thankful for the portrayal of a part of American history we are generally taught nothing about. It certainly helps flesh out the appeal of the socialist agenda in a way that's instructive and helpful. ( )
  mullinstreetzoo | Feb 12, 2021 |
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» 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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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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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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