Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold)

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Paperback, 2002




Scholastic (2002), 262 pages


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.


(1480 ratings; 4.2)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. Based on real life experiences of the author's grandmother, this excellent story is a riches to rags tale of young Esperanza.

Thanks to Jenn (Nittnut) for recommending this book.

Living a life of luxury in Mexico where her father is a wealthy land owner,
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Esperanza's life dramatically changes when her father is killed by those of poverty who are angry with a culture of exceeding wealth for the few and dire, desperate, inescapable poverty for the many.

When her uncles rob Esperanza's mother of her wealth, the family flees to California and become migrant workers.

Told through Esperanza's eyes, we observe the difficulties of adjustment and watch as the child of wealth humbles herself to live with and relate to the poor.

Esperanza rises above her perceptions and finds strength and beauty in the simple pleasures of life.

This is an excellent portrayal of the Mexican uprising, of the life of the migrant worker in California and the trials and tribulations they experienced.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member mulstad07
Age: Intermediate, Middle School
Media: None

The genre of this book is multicultural realistic fiction. It is realistic fiction because it is a story that could happen in real life. The multicultural part of the genre comes from the fact that she is from Mexico and has come to America. Esperanza is
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the main character in the book. She displays tremendous growth through very difficult situation during the story. The theme of this book is to never give up. In the story, Esperanza faces many challenges that force her to grow up quickly, even though she has grown up in a life where she did not need to worry about anything. She never gives up, though, even when it looks tough.
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LibraryThing member sparklegirl
This book is about a young spanish girl who emmigrates to america after tradgedy strikes her family. Very moving.
LibraryThing member kirkmiddle
In the happy wealth in a land called Mexico, lives a girl named “Esperanza” her name in Spanish means “Hope.” So basically the title is called “Hope Rising.” To me it gives you something to predict in this book. El Rancho De Las Rosa is a happy and rich place. Esperanza, the daughter of
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a rich rancher lives a beautiful and luxury life. She has fine jewelry, and grand dresses. She has been to so many fiestas. And she never had clean ever. But on night before her birthday her servants return after searching for her Father who was late home. They return with what seems to be a body in the back of the wagon. Uncovering the body it is soon recognized as to be Esperanza’s Father. Esperanza believed her life would be wonderful forever. She would always live on her family’s ranch in Mexico. She would always have fancy dresses and a beautiful home filled with servants. Papa and Abuelita would always be with her. But a sudden tragedy shatters her world and forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California, where they settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles bought on by the Great Depression, and lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick, and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances------because Mama’s life and her own depend on it. This is a very interesting book, because it has Spanish phrases in it like ’Aquel que hoy se cae, se levantara manana’ meaning ‘He who falls today may rise tomorrow.” From the Mexican Proverbs. --- Bree'nette.
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LibraryThing member smpenni
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.
LibraryThing member staceypfarr
I LOVED this book. I listened to it on tape on the drive to school and didn't want it to end. Great message, too!
LibraryThing member cjfox73
Beautifully written and poignant. The story is sad and yet hopeful. This book will really grab the right reader.
LibraryThing member writingjax
This heart-warming account of this "riches to rags" story is an inspiring tale for anyone who fears new beginnings. The author's beautiful and lyrical prose paints a vivid portrayal of the fall of Ezperanza, who came from the "Rancho de las Rosas" in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Due to unforseen
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circumstances, this pampered and privileged young lady is thrust into life as a migrant field worker in the U.S. , leaving behind the remnant of her wonderful memories and a grim outlook of her future. This page-turning novel will break your heart and leave you cheering and hoping for the welfare and betterment of Esperanza.
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LibraryThing member missgin
Realistic fiction based on the life of the author's grandmother. Esperanza is an inspiring, strong, female character who perseveres and overcomes hardship.
LibraryThing member bushybabe
I read this in 6th grade I remember it being long, but i read it in 6th so maybe what I thought was long , was really short. Remember it kind of being boring at first, but then being pretty interesting! =]
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
A great children's book and worth reading even as an adult. Esperanza is from a wealthy Mexican family whose father is killed by bandits. When her evil uncles attempt to take over everything and Esperanza's mother resists, the family is forced to flee to the United States where they experience the
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poor life of immigrant workers living in camps.
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LibraryThing member mattsya
A riches to rags tale set in the early twentieth century southwest, Munoz shows a part of history and Mexican culture that is not widely known. A tad too sentimental, but extremely moving nonetheless. Recommended for all readers.
LibraryThing member sharmon05
This book is an amazing example of an historical fiction. The plot is about a girl who is forced to immigrate to America from Mexico during the depression. The book clearly and correctly describes the living and work environment of these people during that time in history. There is also great
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character development in this book. Esperanza starts off as a spoiled girl who does not understand the world. However, when she is forced into poverty she is able to overcome and make something of herself.
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LibraryThing member cshaw
This is a "riches to rags" story about a 13 year old girl from Mexico who must leave with her mother and servants for the U.S. to become a migrant worker. When her father dies, her uncle wishes to marry her mother and send her off to a boarding school. Her mother makes the difficult choice to leave
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her own mother and to go to work for a living. Esperanza must rise above her circumstances, including her mother's illness, to earn a living and to pay for the care for her mother, while secretly saving to pay for her Grandmother to leave Mexico. She learns how to be kind and generous through many trials, including how to care for babies and how to sweep a floor. Eventually her character is transformed and her family is reunited. This is a wonderful book with many well developed characters. I really enjoyed reading about the culture and the time period. The different viewpoints about whether or not to strike would shed light for any reader on the real issues the Mexican Migrants had to face at the time and still do today. Esperanza is a very believable and likable character.
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LibraryThing member mentormom
An inspiring story of struggle, hardship, and hope, Esperanza Rising gave me and my children much to discuss. This is a great work of historical fiction for children based on the life of the author's grandmother.

Esperanza, the daughter of a wealthy landowner, and her mother must leave their home in
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Mexico and start over as farm workers in California after the death of her father. Set in the early 1930's, this book gives you a feel for the struggles of the Great Depression as well as California History . Filled with Spanish phrases and words, it's a great introduction to learning Spanish and shows many cultural aspects as well.

This book is rich with ideas for great discussions on empathy, economics, labor unions, race relations, prejudice, rights, family, choices, hope, attitude, work, pride, and kindness. Make sure you keep tissues by as you read. I don't usually cry when reading, but this book brought my tears to the surface again and again making it difficult to read aloud to my kids. It's a sweet book about hard work, love, and hope.
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LibraryThing member stharp
This book is an excellent multi-cultural resource. The way the story portrays Esperanza's life in both Mexico and America are truly touching. The plot for the book is executed with poise and style. The way the author tells the story of Esperanza's transition from Mexico to America in search for a
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better life and a new start. The climax of the story is truly surprising and it keeps the reader interested into what is going to happen during the rest of the story.
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LibraryThing member jlarsonhamilton
Esperanza was living a wonderful life filled with everything she wanted that was until her father died and her whole world turned upside down. Forced to leave Mexico, their homeland to escape her controlling uncles, Esperanza and her mother going to the United States to work and start a new life.
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This is a delightful story with a profound message of hope. This story could be useful in helping students to understand prejudice and the plight of many immigrants coming into the United States at this time in history.
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LibraryThing member Mluke04
Esperanza is an example of a dynamic character. At the beginning of the book she is happy and care-free. As the book progresses she becomes bitter and unhappy because she know longer is treated special. At the end of teh book she realizes that she is still Esperanza and she can once again feel the
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This is an example of historical fiction because the story takes place in 1924. While the characters are fictional, Esperanza and her story are reflections of the author's grandma's life as a migrant worker.
Media: N/A
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LibraryThing member goodnightmoon
An enjoyable, harmless, somewhat predictable children's novel. There was nothing about the story I didn't enjoy, but it didn't go far beyond that for me.

First, my gripes, and they are minor ones. Some scenes were so undetailed that I wasn't sure the author could even picture them. The house fire,
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for example - "We watched the house burn," or some such vague phrase. Secondly, the labor camp was somewhat unrealistic to me, in that Mama's illness seems to have had no effect on their food supply or quality of life. Are they really that poor? I kept expecting them to suffer. It didn't happen.

But, on the other hand, this book has a sympathetic main character, a well-crafted plot, and some history and human rights morals. It is simply a very good, very normal children's novel - and there is nothing wrong with that.
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LibraryThing member bmozanich
Great book. Lots of emotion. Esperanza goes through an amazing transformation from princess to peasant. Seems to have accurate details about what it was like to work and live on a company farm.
LibraryThing member tiamatq
Esperanza and her mother must flee their home in Mexico after her father is killed by bandits. Their home, their riches, all of it is gone and the only life ahead of them is working in the fields of Southern California. Esperanza and her new family struggle to make ends meet at the onset of the
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Depression. If Esperanza has any chance of making it in this new place, she must give up her old ways and embrace her family and her new life. Esperanza’s development is often slow and sometimes painful - she doesn’t even know how to properly use a broom. This makes it that more touching when Esperanza is able to make sacrifices and help support the family. This is a great book that incorporates history, the seasons, family, and sharing into the plot.
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LibraryThing member readingrat
This story is loosely based on the life experiences of the author's own grandmother and is a compelling coming of age story.
LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
This is the fascinating story of Esperana Ortega, a privileged Mexican girl who loves life on her family's land in Mexico. When her father is killed by bandits, 13 year old Esperanza has to flee with her mother across the border to the United States. Not only is her life of luxury gone, she now has
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to depend on the people who were her servants - and are no her equals.
Esperanza's selfishness and kindness, her despair at her new life, and the courage she uses to find her place make this an engaging story. The scenes of life at the workers camp are beautifully described, allowing us to take part in Esperanza's struggles and joys.
I'd sell this book by telling the story of how Esperanza is left minding the babies for the first time, and she feeds them the plums, and they use diaper after diaper during the afternoon.
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LibraryThing member librarianjojo
I read this many years ago. I loved it then, and recommend it now. A story of struggle and overcoming the odds, and love. One of the best YA books I've read.
LibraryThing member rpultusk
This is the story of a young girl whose parents are wealthy farm owners in Mexico. However, after her father is killed, she and her mother must move to the California, work on a company farm, and learn to support themselves. The story starts in 1924 and lasts through the Great Depression. The
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setting of the story begins at the estate in Mexico and ends on the company farm in Arvin, California. The plot is straightforward and chronological, if slightly predictable. While the characters are excellently-drawn portraits of a very particular culture in a very particular place, their characteristics transcend all cultural markers, making this book compelling and appealing for girls of all backgrounds.

The themes of hard work and family are strong throughout the novel. There are many Spanish words and phrases, but all are translated and explained.

There are no illustrations. Each chapter is named, in Spanish and English, for a fruit or vegetable, alluding to farmers' seasons and weaving the same "farm worker's time" motif through the novel.

Highly recommended for elementary and middle school libraries.
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