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Esperanza Rising

by Pam Muñoz Ryan


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  • Item #14T7 in Middle School March/Spring Middle School March/Spring
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    • Grades: 5 - 7
    • Ages: 10 - 13
    Pura Belpré Author Award ; Newbery Author
    • Format: Paperback Book
      Paperback Book
Short Summary
Beautifully written and full of vivid details, this sweeping novel tells the tale of an upper-class Mexican girl who is abruptly thrust into the hardships of the Great Depression.

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Esperanza has lived a privileged life in post-revolutionary Mexico, but her luck changes when her father is murdered by bandits. The family ranch falls into the hands of her heartless uncle, who wants to marry Esperanza's mother and send Esperanza away.

To escape this fate, Mama, Esperanza, and their three faithful servants flee to California. After a long trip on a dirty train, they arrive at a migrant workers camp. The squalid, overcrowded cabin Esperanza and Mama must live in is more like a horse stall than a home, and Esperanza is miserable.

Then an intense dust storm strikes and Mama becomes very sick. Even though she's too young, Esperanza will have to work in the fields to earn money to pay for Mama's medical bills. The labor is backbreaking, and Esperanza lives in constant fear of being caught and sent back to Mexico. Fortunately, her will is strong, and so is the community she is growing to love.

But the risks keep mounting. A dangerous workers' strike looms, and Esperanza faces prejudice everywhere she turns. Can she endure her grueling new life? Will her mother recover?

The human spirit is dealt some harsh blows—but refuses to die—in this powerfully written book about struggle, survival, and family.
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Product Details

    • Grades: 5 - 7
    • Ages: 10 - 13
  • Product Type: Book
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 5 1/4" x 7 5/8"
  • Language: English
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-439-12042-5

Editorial Reviews

"Ryan delivers subtle metaphors via Abuelita's pearls of wisdom, and not until story's end will readers recognize how carefully they have been strung."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Ryan writes movingly in clear, poetic language that children will sink into."—Booklist