Lynne's Reviews > Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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's review
Feb 01, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: latino-latina-children-s-lit

Esperanza Rising is a wonderful story of the Mexican Americans’ struggle and determination to make a better life for themselves and their families. Based on a true story, Esperanza Rising gives life to events and conditions for migrant farm workers in the 1930s. Pam Munoz Ryan’s novel can easily be used in the classroom today to provide knowledge, offer varying perspectives and give rise to critical inquiry.

In the story, young Esperanza is forced to experience two perspectives as she once lived a life of wealth and splendor feeling sorry for or looking down upon the poor in Mexico. When her families is stripped of all its wealth, Esperanza must come to the realization that she is now part of the working class and will not be afforded the same opportunities she once had.

This story offers a new perspective when Carmen, a poor woman they met on the train, states, “I am poor, but I am rich,” showing that riches are not always measured in monetary terms. Students can also explore the many arguments for and against unions and strikes alongside Esperanza as her family struggled with their decision not to strike in pages 195-209. Students should also be led to discuss the treatment of Mexican Americans during the 1930s as well as today with current immigration issues on the rise.
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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Lynn,
I agree with your response to the book and its use in the classroom. You mentioned Ezperanza looking down on the poor Mexican, the servants. She did this even with her best friend, Miguel when she told him that they were on separate sides of the river. In the end she comes to realize that there is only one side of the river and they are both there. I think she also begin to think how true Carmen's words were about "I am rich, but I am poor". Aren't we all?

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