Whitney Price's Reviews > Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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's review
Feb 14, 2008

bookshelves: multi-cultural-book

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 really enjoyed this book. It would be an amazing multi-cultural book to use in the classroom. It uses Spanish words and phrases but also tells you what each one means. It shows how racism is bad and how it hurts people. It shows how people should not be treated a different way just because of their background. It is not only a great story, but it teaches a great lesson. I think this book would most likely attract teenage girls. The themes seem to be more girl orientated. I also suggest this book to children who understand racism and how it is bad. A good way to introduce this book could be during a social studies lesson about the Mexican culture or about how Hispanics come to the United States and how hard they work for a living.

Subjects, Themes, and Big Ideas:
Family is a huge theme in this story. It shows how much one needs their family. Esperanza almost became the mother once her mom got sick. She had to take care of two babies. She had to rely on another family to help her get through it all. Growing up is a big subject. Esperanza has to grow up fast once she reaches the United States. She had to take care of babies, do chores, watch over her mama, and she eventually goes out and works the fields. Her character developed greatly throughout the story and by the end, you realize how much she does care for those people around her.

Esperanza is the main character. She grew up as a very rich girl in Mexico, then after the death of her father, she is forced to move to the United States and live as a poor girl. Romona is her mother who has a heart of gold. Even after she is forced to live the poor life, she still treats everyone kindly and respects everyone. Abuelita is the grandmother, and cannot go to the United States at first due to a swollen ankle she sustained in the house fire. Miguel is the son of Alfonso and Hortensia. He was a couple years older than Esperanza and they grew up together. Alfonso is an old friend of Esperanza’s father and was in charge of all the field workers. Hortensia was the wife Alfonso, and the care taker of Esperanza. Senor Rodriguez is an old friend who helps them escape Mexico. Isabel is the cousin of Miguel and quickly becomes Esperanza’s friend in the United States. Josefine and Juan are Miguel’s aunt and uncle and arranged for them all to come to the United States and to have a place to live. Marta is the trouble maker of the camp, who wants to strike, and makes fun of Esperanza. Irene and Melina are two women who live on the campsite who end up befriending Esperanza and helping her with the babies

Plot summary:
Esperanza lived a very rich life style in Mexico until her father is killed. They run away to Mexico with the help of their friends, but Esperanza is afraid she will not be able to adjust to the life style of being poor and does not know how she will live without her Abuelita. Her mama gets sick and Esperanza must work to earn money to pay the bills and to save up for Abuelita to come to the United States. Her mom ends up surviving and her Abuelita finally comes to the United States with the help of her friend Miguel.

Strengths (including reviews and awards):
Pura Belpre Award,
2001 ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
Smithsonian Best Books 2000
Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Books 2000
L.A. Times Best Books of 2000
Drawbacks or other cautions:
A huge caution could be the use of racism throughout the book. It shows how Hispanics were looked down upon and how people did not care. It also shows how other minorities were looked down on and how they were treated unfairly and place d into crowded camps.

Teaching ideas:
• One idea could be based around teaching about Mexico and their different customs.
• One could teach about the Mexican revolution and how it affected the country and all the people.
• Since fruit is a huge part of the story, you could bring in the different types of fruits and vegetables mentioned in the book.
• They could discuss how illegal immigrants cause a strain on the economy but how helpful they can be at the same time.
• One could have the students write a different ending to the story.
• Since family is a huge part of the story, each student could do a little presentation on their family and why they are so important.
• As a class, you could discuss different types of strikes that have happened throughout United States history.
• A teacher could lead a discussion about racism and how it affected the United States and why it is wrong.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 14, 2008 – Shelved
February 28, 2008 – Shelved as: multi-cultural-book

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Karyn (new)

Karyn Larsen Thank you for your detailed review of this book. Helped me out tremendously.

Audrey Ettinger One small note -- this family emigrated to the US legally.

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