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Esperanza Rising

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  90,974 ratings  ·  7,737 reviews
Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 27th 2002 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published October 1st 2000)
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Sarina Soren I have sympathy for Marta and I admire her courage to stand up for her cause, but that doesn’t mean I like her.
Ingrid This book isn't too hard to understand so I guess this book would be alright but she should ask questions if she doesn't understand something .…moreThis book isn't too hard to understand so I guess this book would be alright but she should ask questions if she doesn't understand something .(less)

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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  90,974 ratings  ·  7,737 reviews

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Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book with my class today...couldn't read that last sentence because I cried...the kids cried too. That hasn't happened to me before with a read aloud...great story. ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Aguntate tantito y la fruta caer en tu mano," her father said. "Wait a little while and the fruit will fall into your hand. You must be patient, Esperanza."

Esperanza Rising is my 2nd book of Pam Muñoz Ryan. The 1st book was the awesome Echo.

Esperanza Rising has been a wonderful read. One of the first thoughts I had, after finishing the book, was that, this book should have been slightly more longer.

Did you know if you lie down on the ground and stay very still, you can feel the Earth's heart
I read and lesson planned this book when I student taught Spanish I to 7th and 8th graders. Any review I write will not do the book justice because it's been a long time and deserving of a reread. Definitely a great learning tool and Hispanic historical novel to read to middle school students. ...more
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book...RTC
Julie G
My 11-year-old was assigned this middle grades novel at school, and she struggled with it, early on, so we started it over as a read aloud at home and she became completely invested. So did I.

I liked this story much more than I suspected I would; it takes place at the same time and in same place as Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, but instead of "Okies," the focus is on Mexican immigrants. They've come to California to scrape together some sort of living while being paid next to nothing for pick
Whitney Price
English 425 Submitter’s name _Whitney Price____
Book Bank Book Bank subject: __Group 3_Book_

Reference information:
Title Esperanza Rising
Author Pam Munoz Ryan
Publisher Scholastic Press Year 2000
# of pages 253 Genre Fiction
Reading level Interest level 13-15
Potential hot lava:

General response/reaction:
My first response to this book was that I wanted it to be longer. I wanted to read more about the relationships Ezperanza makes and to see if anything evolves between her and Miguel. I
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
An inspiring story of struggle, hardship, and hope, Esperanza Rising gave me and my children much to discuss. This is a great work of historical fiction for children based on the life of the author's grandmother.

Esperanza, the daughter of a wealthy landowner, and her mother must leave their home in Mexico and start over as farm workers in California after the death of her father. Set in the early 1930's, this book gives you a feel for the struggles of the Great Depression as well as California H
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a beautiful and beautifully simple story! I love the angles of perspective, the rich culture and largely ignored history of the Mexican repatriation, that the author explores. It's even better to learn that the author based the story largely on very true events of her grandmother's time. Esperanza is a lovely young heroine who matures so believably and admirably. I really like that she started as a pretty ignorant, hot-tempered and slightly spoiled child, so we can see that the Mexicans don ...more
Naz (Read Diverse Books)
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I adored Esperanza, her family, and their story. <3
Though Esperanza comes from a privileged background, she and her mother are forced to flee Mexico after her father dies. She must work as a farm laborer (despite her upbringing and education) in southern California during the Great Depression.

The characterization is lovely; they are well rounded with realistic concerns and struggles. This novel illuminates the unique plight of Mexican-American laborers during the Great Depression, including forced deportation, labor strikes, competition from th
While I have quite enjoyed the historic information and detailed descriptions of both Esperanza's first (her original) life in Mexico (as a member of the ruling, of the powerful classes, as a rich and yes rather spoiled, cherished daughter of a prominent and socially, financially connected gentleman fruit rancher used to generally getting her own way and having a fleet of servants at her beck and call) and later (after her father's tragic death and Esperanza and her mother's quite sudden fall fr ...more
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a powerfull story. Need I say that I spent an hour in tears as I was reading the book. Woke up with puffy eyes the next day. Unfortunately students only get to experience the Grapes of Wrath in high school. How marvelous would it be to also introduce them to Esperanza Rising, perhaps as part of an immigration unit and then have them analyze the different experiences of these two groups, the "Oakies" and the Mexican immigrants.
I was so moved by the selfless act of Ramona to give up all t
Nov 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
I wanted to like this book, but I struggled with liking the characters. There was not one character I really cared about. I found I cared more about the roses they were transplanting than the people who were transplanted. I did like the growth I saw in Esperanza.

This story was too didactic. Munoz didn't trust her reader enough to figure out what was right; she felt she had to tell them. She also had too many plot lines going that seemed to go nowhere at all. Murdered father, greedy and mean unc
Joy D
Published in 2000, this book is based on the author’s grandmother’s experience of moving from Mexico to California during the Great Depression. It is a riches to rags story. The family was wealthy and successful in Mexico, but after Esperanza’s father dies and relatives prove untrustworthy, they must find a new path.

The story is told from Esperanza’s perspective. She is age thirteen at the start of the novel. The tragedies are kept at arms-length, though the author does not shy away from portra
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful! I started reading it a while ago, but stopped because I thought it was too sad. (I was at the part about the papayas) I just picked it up again and couldn't put it down! This was, by far, one of the best books I've ever read! ...more
Nov 09, 2021 rated it really liked it


read this with my fifth grade students, they seemed to really love it and I really enjoyed the commentary made about immigration in this book, and also how it put said commentary into words that a child can understand. I do think this relied heavily on stereotypes though, which is what brought it down a bit for me.
I really enjoyed this story about young Esperanza, whose life is turned upside down after her father's death. Going from a privileged, comfortable life in Mexico on her father's ranch, or a difficult, hard life in California, Esperanza starts out naive and entitled, but undergoes tremendous growth and strength of character by the end of this novel. Plus, I got to learn a little about Mexican workers in California around the Depression: the racism they encountered, their efforts to gain better ri ...more
I enjoyed this story, as it brought me to a different perspective about migrations from Mexico than I have had about the past. . . I just never thought much about it. I love Grapes of Wrath and have read that, and Cannery Row, and similar tales of the migrations . . .white migrations. . .forced upon people during the Depression. This YA book had me thinking about other cultures, and the underlying reasons for their needs to flee a homeland.

When I read books like this, I am reminded that I am a
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story about a thirteen-year-old Mexican girl, Esperanza, from a well-to-do family who, after the death of her father, is forced to move with her mother and family servants to southern California. They must become migrant workers picking fruits and vegetables and living in a migrant camp. Through the eyes of this privileged child, the reader learns how it feels to "come down" in life, and also how it feels to be "looked down on" by others because of one's ethnicity and social standing ...more
Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars. This was a really good read. I was surprised at how much depth there was, considering that it was a young readers book (I would put it at 3rd-5th grade). It tackled really serious issues without being overwhelming and balanced showing and telling when it came to the big issues very well. This is set in the 1930's as the main character, Esperanza, and her family has to move from a place of wealth in Mexico to work in the United States. It tackles issues of classism and racism, includin ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is GREAT! I read it with school and at first to be honest I hated it! Esperanza was annoying and snobby! But in the end she was a really like able person!
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this as an audible book. What a beautiful voice narrator Trini Alvarado has! Her reading was a captivating performance, carrying me into the story even more than if I had read it myself.

When disaster visits wealthy Esperanza Ortega and her family who live on a ranch in Mexico, she and her mama escape to California where they adjust to life as peasants and migrant workers during the Great Depression. Soulful, dramatic, lyrical, and extraordinary are the first words that come to mind
Lars Guthrie
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A really great book on so many levels. There are so many connections you can make with kids while reading 'Esperanza,' but learning about the Great Depression, and Mexico, and farm workers, and how fruits and vegetables get to our tables, and California geography, are all side benefits to this Cinderella-in-reverse story that still ends up happily. It's a classic, and should be in every collection of children's books. Highly recommended. ...more
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5... It was a sweet story of hope and dignity. A girl and her mother go to CA from Mex due to tragic life changing events. Born with land and money she has to abandon it all to start a new life in poverty, living in farm camps where the work is hard and there is a constant fear of getting deported for striking whether one has citizenship or not. Fast, easy read for an adult. 4th grade plus book.
Megan Tsosie
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
That starting over is not always bad, bad things may happen but we somehow manage to survive.
The Dusty Jacket
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Esperanza was the pride and joy of her papa. The daughter of wealthy ranchers, Sixto and Ramona Ortega, she had everything a twelve-year old could possibly want. But not far beyond the borders of El Rancho de las Rosas, trouble brewed in Aguascaliente, Mexico. It was 1930 and the revolution in Mexico had happened over ten years ago, but there were still those who resented the wealth and circumstances of the local landowners. Soon that hate would spill over into Esperanza’s idyllic and pampered w ...more
I’m well aware of the privileges I hold simply by accident of birth. And I’m also aware that a turn of circumstance, like devastating illness or unemployment, could suddenly take away many of the comforts I take for granted.

Esperanza is an adolescent girl who suddenly has to face a future where all the things in her life are suddenly taken away from her. It’s the story of her new perspective, her new path forward.

It’s also a story of immigration, of racism, of classism, of family. It’s the story
Rachel Aranda
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow this is such a powerful story on so many levels. There are so many teachable moments that can be made with kids while reading Esperanza Rising. A few of these teachable moments deal with the Great Depression, immigration, farm working conditions, how fruits and vegetables get to our tables, racism, and many more. Another side with this story are how this story has a similar Cinderella-in-reverse plot that still ends up happily. I used to hear it's a classic when I was a kid but rereading thi ...more
Charlie ~ Happy Pride Month!
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I LOVED this book! for four reasons
1. the plot. the rich to rags plot is sort of cliche, and i tend to stray from it, but this book was beautiful.
2. the characters. Esperanza is so amazing and resourceful. Marta is such a misunderstood character. i didn't like her, but now she's one of my favorites. :)
3. the awareness. this book really brings attention to the horrible things our government is doing. and it shows how awful it is for the workers.
4. the writing style. beautiful!
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Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, ECHO, a 2016 Newbery Honor Book, and winner of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over forty books for young people—picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels. She the author recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, the Willa Cather Award, the Pura Belpré meda ...more

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“The needle rocked awkwardly and at the end of her beginning rows, Isabel held up her work to show Esperanza. "Mine is all crooked!"

Esperanza smiled and reached over and gently pulled the yarn, unraveling the uneven stitches. Then she looked into Isabel's trusting eyes and said, "Do not ever be afraid to start over.”
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