Sunday, July 6, 2014

‘Esperanza Rising’ by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Thirteen-year-old Esperanza lives a life of privilege with her father Sixto and her mother Ramona in Aguascalientes, Mexico. When her father is killed by bandits, Esperanza and her mother are forced to flee an attempt by one of Sixto’s brothers to force Ramona to marry him.

A former servant and his family are traveling to California and Esperanza and her mother join them.

Life in a work camp is an abrupt change; Esperanza has only been taught to give orders and has never had to fend for herself. And when her mother falls ill, Esperanza must even-more-so be a wage-earner for her family.

In Esperanza Rising, Pam Muñoz Ryan recreates with fiction, the experience of her grandmother Esperanza Ortega. An afterword traces parallels and differences in the lives of these two Esperanzas, and offers perspective upon the 1930s labor strikes that are a backdrop to the novel.

Esperanza Rising is a fascinating story with compelling characters I cared about. It can be checked out through Jackson County libraries and listened to through Library2Go.

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