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Esperanza Rising Paperback – May 1, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 834 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"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 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780439120425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439120425
  • ASIN: 043912042X
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (834 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
He who falls today may rise tomorrow.
(Mexican Proverb, quoted from the book's opening)

This powerful and realistic novel is set in 1930's. The main character,Esperanza, is a wealthy young Mexican girl that has grown up on a ranch called El Rancho de las Rosas near Aguascalientes, Mexico. She is used to the care-free life of riches and privileges, surrounded by her loving parents, Ramona and Sixto Ortega, parties, dolls, servants, and silk dresses. But everything changes when one night, a day before Esperanza's 13th Birthday, her father is killed by the bandits.

Esperanza, her mother, and Abuelita (grandmother) find themselves in a very precarious position - they cannot own the ranch without Papa, a man, a head of the family. Espiranza's evil uncles take over the land, and one of them suggests that Ramona should get married to him. When Esperanza's mother refuses the proposal, their mansion gets set on fire at night, leaving them with nothing at all. Esperanza and her mother had no choice but to leave Mexico and flee to a migrate camp of agricultural work in California, leaving behind Abuelita and their riches and privileges. Instead, experiences of loss, poverty, separation, prejudice, humiliation and fear surround Esperanza on the way to her new life. She is no longer a princess but a worker. What's even more, her mother gets very sick, and Esperanza has to work hard to pay the hospital bills. Will she manage the long hours of work and months of separation from her mother and Abuelita? Will she find a way to rise from ashes and make a new life for herself?

Set against the multi-ethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, the story of Esperanza remaking herself is deeply touching and emotional.
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A Kid's Review on December 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think esperanza rising is a great book.It teaches you how to stay calm in times of depression.I also think that people should read this book because it has a wonderful script and teaches you to be kind to others who are mean to you.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
FYI: This book, *Esperanza Rising: Esperanza RENACE*, is in SPANISH! For the ENGLISH version be sure to order simply *Esperanza RISING*.

Esperanza Rising is a wonderful coming-of-age novel set in the Great Depression, first in Mexico, then in Southern California. Esperanza is a young Mexican girl from a well-to-family, accustomed to being spoiled and always getting her way. When the family is forced to split up and flee the country for the States, will Esperanza have what it takes to help her family cross the border illegally, farm in the hot California sun and take care of the young children? You must read to find out!
P.S. This novel is great for teaching grade school students about the Depression and immigration.
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A Kid's Review on March 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Esperanza Rising first takes place in Rancho de la Rosas in Mexico. The main character, Esperanza, is treated like a princess on the ranch. Everything is going well, until the night before Esperanza's father doesn't return home. Learning that her father was killed by bandits, Esperanza and her mother escape on a train that will take them to the United States of America. They find work on a farm in California with other Mexicans.

Wishing she were back home, Esperanza struggles to adapt to her new life. This is a big conflict that takes place in the story between Esperanza and herself. Not wanting to let go of her past and move ahead with her future, she doesn't try to fit in. After Esperanza's mother is put in the hospital, Esperanza finally works hard and tries to make friends. The story ends with Esperanza's mother coming home from the hospital and her knowing that everything will be alright.

This book was very entertaining to read. The author held my attention throughout the book because of all of the dramatic events that unfold. An example of this is when Esperanza's father dies. There is so much suspense in that chapter that I couldn't put the book down! When I read this book, I really felt as though I was right there beside Esperanza.
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Format: Hardcover
Pam Munoz Ryan's ancestors lived this story, and she has done a great service to write it with such an authentic voice. She has presented a fictionalized account of her own grandmother's fall from wealth and privilege in the aftermath of the revolution in Mexico as she immigrated to the United States to work in a Mexican farm labor camp during the Great Depression. Esperanza, the young protagonist, experiences loss, poverty, separation, prejudice, humiliation and fear on the road to her ultimate rise from the ashes in the manner of the mythical phoenix. Ryan does an excellent job of presenting the dilemma and danger of early attempts to improve the working conditions of the laborer during this period. She points out in the author's notes the grave injustices incurred by the Mexican Deportation Act, which exceeded relocations of the Japanese-Americans during the 2nd World War and of the Native Americans of the previous century. Many of these issues of prejudice and injustice persist today. Adults who enjoy this wonderful children's book should be sure to read "Rain of Gold," by Villasenor.
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