A Library of the School of EducationDPIUW-Madison School Of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUW-Madison LibraryUW-Madison Catalog
About the CCBC
Authors and Illustrators
Recommended Books for Children and Young Adults
CCBC Calendar and Events
CCBC Podcasts
CCBC Publications
Intellectual Freedom

Support the CCBC
Support the CCBC
Are you a...K-12 TeacherLibrarianEarly Childhood Care ProviderUW Student / Faculty

Esperanza Rising

by Pam Munoz Ryan

Published by Scholastic, 2000
262 pages
ISBN: 0-439-12041-1

Ages 10 - 14

Living on her family's ranch in Mexico in the years following the Revolution, 12-year-old Esperanza has always had all the material things she could wish for. Even more important to her, she has had the love and devotion of her parents. But on the eve of her 13th birthday, Esperanza's world is shattered when her father is killed by bandits. With the help of Hortensia, Alfonso, and their son Miguel, the Zapotec Indian family who had been their most trusted employees, Esperanza and her mother flee to the United States to escape Esperanza's despicable uncles, who now own their land. Thousands upon thousands of workers have come to California from across North America looking for work during the Great Depression. Esperanza's mother tells her daughter they must be grateful for the shelter and work they have found in a field labor camp with other Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans, but Esperanza finds gratitude hard to come by. Her privileged childhood has not prepared her for the harsh, overcrowded conditions in which they live, or for the housework and childcare she is expected to do to help out. Initially determined to do well at her tasks as a matter of pride, Esperanza soon develops a fierce determination to succeed based on more compelling need. She is driven in part by her desire to provide for her mother after her mother falls ill. But the generosity, hopes, and heartbreak that she witnesses among the workers in the camps, who live with dignity in almost unbearable conditions of poverty, who face danger and illness in the work they do, and the real risk of unemployment and deportation if they strike for better conditions--teach her that they all share the same hopes and dreams, and that the fate of many cannot be isolated from the fate of one. Pam Muñoz Ryan's novel, inspired by events in the life of her own grandmother, deftly weaves social issues into a novel that is first and foremost a compelling story of family and coming of age. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children; Historical People, Places, and Events. (MS; Oct 23) ©2000 Cooperative Children's Book Center

book cover
Book of the Week

In accordance with the UW-Madison Accessibility Policy, this site makes every effort to comply with the World Wide Web standards defined in the Federal Rehabilitation Act Section 508, specifically subsections 1194.22 and subsection 1194.31. If you need additional resources or have any questions or concerns about this site, please contact the site administrator for more information.
UW crest