Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

When I picked up this book I thought I knew what I was in for. But apparently I was ignorant of the largest involuntary migration in the U.S. – that of Mexican workers, many legal citizens, who were forced to move to Mexico during the Great Depression. Esperanza’s story is set during this turbulent time. The daughter of a wealthy Mexican rancher, Esperanza has everything she could ever desire. But in one night her life changes and she and her mother migrate to California to work on a farm labor camp. While the Great Depression rages, Esperanza adjusts to the difficulties of her new life.

I enjoyed Esperanza’s story, based off Ryan’s grandmother’s life. The writing is interspersed with Spanish making this a very cultural text. I think this is an excellent book for kids to learn about the difficulties of emigrating families, the richness of Mexican culture as well as the history surrounding the Great Depression. I find this story particularly relevant today as we come out of our economic slump. With so many unemployed, sympathy for non-citizen workers definitely fades. Esperanza’s story reminds us that everyone deserves humane treatment and that stereotyping has never helped our country in the past. That’s what I got out of this text, anyways! I will tuck away this title in my memory bank for my future kid someday.
Publisher: Scholastic, 2000      Pages: 262          Source: IC Public Library
Rating: 4 Stars                             Recommended Age: 10 and up

1 comment:

  1. I feel like this is a book that I've wanted to read for YEARS, but somehow just never got around to doing it... Your review just gave me some more motivation :)

    Also, I just was looking at your TBR list and I'm 1/2 way through This Book is Overdue (super interesting!) and read Baking Cakes in Kigali a little earlier in the year. I like your (book) style :)

    Thanks for stopping by Book Love! I just became a follower.