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Esperanza Rising
Contributor(s): Ryan, Pam Munoz

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ISBN: 043912042X     ISBN-13: 9780439120425
Publisher: Scholastic Pr
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: April 2002
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Annotation: Esperanza Ortega has fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and the promise of one day rising to her mother's position presiding over all of Rancho de las Rosas. But tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee from Mexico to California and settle in a farm labor camp. There, Esperanza must confront the challenges that are accepted by her own people.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Mexican Americans; California; Juvenile fiction.
Mexican Americans; California; Fiction.
Agricultural laborers; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | Family
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2002003373
Lexile Measure: 750
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.50" H x 5.25" W x 0.75" (0.45 lbs) 262 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and the promise of one day rising to Mama's position and presiding over all of Rancho de las Rosas. Tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. There, Esperanza must confront the challenges of hard labor, acceptance by her own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression, while learning the value of family and community.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Pam Munoz Ryan is the recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books which have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. Pam lives near San Diego. You can visit her at www.pammunozryan.com.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring)
In this poignant look at the realities of immigration, thirteen-year-old Esperanza, daughter of an affluent Mexican rancher, is forced to trade fancy dolls and dresses for hard work and ill-fitting hand-me-downs after her beloved father dies. Laboring in the United States, picking grapes on someone else's land for pennies an hour, Esperanza is transformed into someone who can take care of herself and others. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2001 #1)
At times Esperanza Rising, although it takes place in Depression-era Mexico and the United States instead of Victorian England, seems a dead ringer for Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess. Both are dramatic riches-to-rags stories about girls forced to trade fancy dolls and dresses for hard work and ill-fitting hand-me-downs after their beloved fathers die. Thirteen-year-old Esperanza even possesses a touch of Sara Crewe's romantic spirit. The daughter of an affluent Mexican rancher, she had been taught by her father to believe that the "land is alive," that she could lie down beneath the arbors in her family's vineyards, press her ear to the ground, and hear a heart beat. Yet can this still hold true for Esperanza when she no longer reigns as queen of the harvest but labors in the fields of a foreign country, picking grapes on someone else's land for pennies an hour? The transition does not come easily for her, and thus her story ultimately diverges from The Little Princess's fairytale script to become a poignant look at the realities of immigration. Political as well as personal history inform the sometimes florid narrative (loosely based, we are told in an afterword, on the experiences of the author's grandmother). Esperanza's struggles begin amidst class unrest in post-revolutionary Mexico and intersect with labor strikes in the United States, which serve to illustrate the time period's prevailing hostility toward people of Mexican descent. In one of the more glaring injustices she witnesses, striking workers, who were born American citizens and have never set foot on Mexican soil, are loaded onto buses for deportation. Through it all, Esperanza is transformed from a sheltered aristocrat into someone who can take care of herself and others. Although her material wealth is not restored in the end, the way it is for Sara Crewe, she is rich in family, friends, and esperanza-the Spanish word for hope. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2002 July #1)
"With a hint of magical realism, this robust novel set in 1930 captures a Mexican girl's fall from riches and her immigration to California," said PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2000 October)
Gr 6-9-Ryan uses the experiences of her own Mexican grandmother as the basis for this compelling story of immigration and assimilation, not only to a new country but also into a different social class. Esperanza's expectation that her 13th birthday will be celebrated with all the material pleasures and folk elements of her previous years is shattered when her father is murdered by bandits. His powerful stepbrothers then hold her mother as a social and economic hostage, wanting to force her remarriage to one of them, and go so far as to burn down the family home. Esperanza's mother then decides to join the cook and gardener and their son as they move to the United States and work in California's agricultural industry. They embark on a new way of life, away from the uncles, and Esperanza unwillingly enters a world where she is no longer a princess but a worker. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, the story of Esperanza remaking herself is satisfyingly complete, including dire illness and a difficult romance. Except for the evil uncles, all of the characters are rounded, their motives genuine, with class issues honestly portrayed. Easy to booktalk, useful in classroom discussions, and accessible as pleasure reading, this well-written novel belongs in all collections.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
 
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