Title: Esperanza Rising
Author: by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Publisher: June 1st 2005 by Scholastic Inc. (first published October 1st 2000)
ISBN: 0439771250 (ISBN13: 9780439771252)
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I volunteered in my son’s third grade class and this was the book that was picked to read.
Where I Obtained the book: At the school.
Synopsis: When Esperanza and Mama are forced to flee to the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico, to a Mexican farm labor camp in California, they must adjust to a life without fancy dresses adn servants they were accustomed to on Rancho de las Rosas. Now they must confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.
Review: What an inspirational story. I loved the flow and the story, her life was forever changed by the death of her father and she was too young to even know why. The mother coped as well as she could and once in the US she fell apart. I would have fallen apart much earlier than that. Their life had been filled with love, family, grand parties and money and now that was lost. Love did remain, but everything else was lost when they fled Mexico.
Pampering to working her fingers to blisters, Esperanza went from being the one waited on to doing the waiting, she worked hard to make her life better in the US. She was no longer on the other side of the river, she was now on equal footing with those around her. She struggled, but held on. She was young when her father died, but forced to grow up and learn to take care of herself. She was blessed with friends who loved her. The roses they brought from Mexico were a great reminder of happier times, times that made her smile.
In class while reading this, we made yarn dolls and talked about what we would take with us if we could only take one things from our old life into our new. The answers were interesting, but we all agreed that leaving everything behind would be almost impossible. Esperanza means hope and this is truly a tale of hope.
Author Biography: I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. Until the end of fourth grade at McKinley Elementary, I walked to my grandmother’s house after school, where my parents picked me up after work. I spent enough time at my grandmother’s to sometimes have to draw on my own resources to entertain myself. One of my earliest memories about books is that my grandmother had a set of encyclopedias. I would tip each of these volumes out of its space and look at the top of the book to see if there were any sections printed in color. If I saw the definitive stripes, I’d take it off the shelf and go to those spots in the book. I studied the illustrated anatomy pages with the plastic overlays. I poured over the botanical plates. My favorite volume was G, because it contained an illustrated section of Greek myths. How I loved those encyclopedias! Once, I even tried to copy an entire page, but did not succeed.
I began to write stories for children. I submitted manuscripts to many children’s publishers but with no luck. I wish I knew how many, but I didn’t keep track and there were so many rejections that, at the time, it would have been painful to count. I finally contracted a literary agent. Today, I still have the same agent, Kendra Marcus with Bookstop Literary Agency. My first children’s book, One Hundred Is A Family, published in 1994.After a number of picture books, my editor at Scholastic, Tracy Mack, encouraged me to try a novel and I did. More novels followed.
One book led to another. And I became something I’d never been before. Today, I cannot imagine not writing. But I have a very practical approach to it. It is my job. One that I love. I want to deliver, for my publisher, for my reader, and for myself.