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Esperanza Rising

by Pam Muñoz Ryan  |  Grades: 4-7  |  Ages: 8-12  |  Lexile Level: 750  

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan Teacher Guide, Lesson Plans, Novel UnitAbout Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Tragedy forces 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.

Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp.

Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.


"Told in a lyrical, fairy tale-like style . . . Readers will be swept up." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This well-written novel belongs in all collections." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"Ryan writes a moving story in clear, poetic language that children will sink into, and the book offers excellent opportunities for discussion and curriculum support." -- Booklist

"Ryan's... style is engaging, her characters appealing, and her story is one that-though a deep-rooted part of the history of California, the Depression, and thus the nation-is little heard in children's fiction. It bears telling to a wider audience." -- Kirkus Reviews


Pura Belpré Award Winner
Américas Award Honor Book
Jane Addams Children's Book Award Winner
Willa Cather Award Winner
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
ILA Notable Book for a Global Society
ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

A Biographical Note About Pam Muñoz Ryan

Pam Muñoz Ryan (1951 -   ) is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo, as well as the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature for her body of work. She has written more than thirty books for young readers. Her celebrated novels, Echo, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Léon, and Paint the Wind, have received countless accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and two Americas Awards. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride and When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Ryan lives near San Diego, CA with her family.

Available Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, Novel Units, and Activities for Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan: