Author: Pam Muņoz Ryan
Grade Level Equivalent:
Guided Reading Level:
Great Depression, Farm and Ranch Life, Mexican and Mexican American
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 she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances — Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
Pam Munoz Ryan eloquently portrays the Mexican workers' plight in this abundant and passionate novel that gives voice to those who have historically been denied one. "When I was a child, I always assumed my grandmother grew up in poverty because the stories she told were primarily about raising her children in farm labor camps in California in the 1930s. It wasn't until I was a young woman that she told me about her childhood in Mexico. I was so moved by her riches-to-rags fairytale that I felt compelled to share her story." -- Pam Munoz Ryan.