What Is "Esperanza Rising"?


Quick Answer

"Esperanza Rising" is a middle-grade historical novel by Pam Munoz Ryan. It tells the story of 13-year-old Esperanza, who is forced to flee her country and leave behind a pampered lifestyle after the murder of her father.

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Full Answer

Set during the time of the Great Depression, Esperanza and her mother arrive in the United States after the death of Esperanza's father and the takeover of their Mexican ranch by her father's evil stepbrother. Accustomed to a life of ease and luxury, Esperanza must learn to work hard and find her way in a land wracked with poverty and prejudice.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of her grandmother, Pam Munoz Ryan set out to tell a story about Mexican immigration in a way that kept readers turning pages. Published by Scholastic in 2000, schools use "Esperanza Rising" as a reading book as well as inspiration for class writing activities.

The book has received generally favorable reviews and has enjoyed particular praise for its characters, writing style and the way in which it deals with immigration. It has received many awards and honors, including the Pura Belpe Medal, the IRA Notable Book for a Global Society and the Smithsonian Best Book of the Year.

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