Esperanza Rising

Pam Munoz Ryan, Author, Pam Munoz Ryan, Author Scholastic Press $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-439-12041-8
Told in a lyrical, fairy tale - like style, Ryan's (riding Freedom) robust novel set in 1930 captures a Mexican girl's fall from riches, her immigration to California and her growing awareness of class and ethnic tensions. Thirteen-year-old Esperanza Ortega and her family are part of Mexico's wealthy, land-owning class in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Her father is a generous and well-loved man who gives his servants land and housing. Early in the novel, bandits kill Esperanza's father, and her corrupt uncles threaten to usurp their home. Their servants help her and her mother flee to the United States, but they must leave Esperanza's beloved Abuelita (grandmother) behind until they can send for her. Ryan poetically conveys Esperanza's ties to the land by crafting her story to the rhythms of the seasons. Each chapter's title takes its name from the fruits Esperanza and her countrymen harvest, firs in Aguascalientes, then in California's San Joaquin Valley. Ryan fluidly juxtaposes world events (Mexico's post-revolution tensions, the arrival of Oklahoma's Dust Bowl victims and the struggles between the U.S. government and Mexican workers trying to organize) with one family's will to survive - while introducing readers to Spanish words and Mexican customs. Readers will be swept up by vivid descriptions of California dust storms or by the police crackdown on a labor strike (""The picket signs lay on the ground, discarded, and like a mass of marbles that had already been hit, the strikers scattered?""). Ryan delivers subtle metaphors via Abuelita's pearl's of wisdom, and not until story's end will readers recognize how carefully they have been strung. Ages 9-14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
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Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-1-903434-98-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-1056-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-6207-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8862-7
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-439-77125-2
Paperback - 978-0-439-57617-8
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-24427-5
Compact Disc - 4 pages - 978-0-7393-3896-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-8072-1769-6
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-0-439-12042-5
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-307-25832-8
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-3061-6
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