Monday, November 22, 2010

Esperanza Rising

Esperanza RisingEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

AR Reading Level: 5.3
On the library stacks: YA Fiction

Awards: Pura Belpre Award; NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts; Jefferson Cup Award/Honor; YALSA Top Ten; Judy Lopez Memorial Award; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Smithsonian's Notable Book; Americas Award for Children's Literature; Jane Addams Book Award/Honor Books

Recommended for: Grades 5+

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of 13-year old Esperanza, a girl born to wealth and privilege in Mexico. In the fallout of the Mexican Revolution, bandits roam the land. Esperanza's father is murdered, and in order to escape a life with her corrupt uncles, Esperanza and her mother make their way to California to become migrant crop workers.

The Depression has hit America hard, and people from across the country arrive daily in the Central Valley looking for work. While living conditions for the Mexicans are less than ideal, they work for pittance in order to keep their jobs. Esperanza experiences many challenges in California, but ultimately she learns that true happiness has nothing to do with material things, but in being with the people that you love.

This is an inspiring story based on the lives of the author's ancestors. I learned quite a bit about the treatment of Mexicans during this period in US history that I found quite shocking, especially since I grew up in Southern California. I'm glad this story has been told and I feel both enlightened and better educated for having read this well-written book.

Also reviewed by: Book Haven ~ Your link here?

Book 47 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 46 of 50 for the YA Reading Challenge
Source: BookMooch

8 comments:

Kathleen said...

This sounds like a good one. I've lived in California my whole life and studied very little on this subject.

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Trying to find this at the library now! Thanks for your review...

bermudaonion said...

This sounds marvelous!

Tina's Blog said...

I read this with a fifth grade book club a few years ago. Thanks for reminding me of this one - I know I didn't read it with anyone last year, but the one group really enjoyed it.

T.V and Book Addict said...

I read this book in 8th grade. I loved it. It was so moving and memorable. I think every girl should read this around age 14. It's one of those books. My parents are Mexican so I could related a bit to Esperanza's culture which made me love the book more.

Veens said...

This sounds like an awesome book. I will definitely look for it here.

Christina said...

I loved this book when I read it as a little girl. It was one of my favorite books to read, and your review has made me want to dig it out of the box of 'kids books' in my closet and reread it.

alisonwonderland said...

I read this five or six years ago with my daughter for a mother-daughter book club we attended. I really love the character of Esperanza!