Book Review: Esperanza Rising

Posted February 14, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Historical Fiction Reading Challenges, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: Esperanza RisingEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Published by Scholastic Inc. on October 1st 2012
Genres: General, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780439120425
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

“I am poor, but I am rich. I have my children, I have a garden with roses, and I have my faith and the memories of those who have gone before me. What more is there?”
― Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.

The Good…:

Esperanza Rising is a wonderful book about a young, wealthy Mexican girl whose family suffers a great tragedy as her country struggles to get back on its feet after the Mexican-American War caused dissension between the upper and lower classes. Forced to flee to California, Esperanza and her mother go from riches to rags working as migrant workers during the Great Depression. Esperanza must learn that she’s tougher than she ever believed possible, and that life is full of peaks and valleys. The talent is being capable of pulling yourself up via family, friends, and faith during the tough times so you can rise again once more.

Filled with rich history, this novel is great for upper elementary and middle school aged children, as well as for people of all ages. If a child is struggling with history, this novel brings the 1900’s alive, and ties historical events together in a way that moves beyond the dates themselves, as they are brought alive for new generations. Sadly, many of the political problems detailed in the book are still hot topics even today, but this helps make the book relatable.

Do I Recommend?

Yes! Esperanza Rising is a great book, that is enjoyable for people of all ages. The story is historically accurate, and very realistic.

Rating Report
Overall: 5

About Pam Muñoz Ryan

Pam Muñoz Ryan has written over thirty books for young people, from picture books for the very young to young adult novels, including the award-winning ESPERANZA RISING, BECOMING NAOMI LEÓN, RIDING FREEDOM, PAINT THE WIND, and THE DREAMER. She is the National Education Association’s Author recipient of the Civil and Human Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award for Multicultural Literature, and is twice the recipient of the Willa Cather Literary Award for writing. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, (formerly Pam Bell), received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at San Diego State University, and now lives in North San Diego County with her family.


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