Flashlight Readers: Esperanza Rising
A Sneak Peek at Esperanza Rising by Pam Muņoz Ryan
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About the Author

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley. I grew up with aunts, uncles, and grandparents nearby and consider myself truly American because my heritage is part Spanish, Mexican, Basque, Italian, and Oklahoman. My grandparents on my mother's side came to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1930's. Today I live about 30 miles north of San Diego, California — the town is called Leucadia — with my husband, my four children, and our dogs, Sammie and Buddy.
Why do you love books?
Growing up, I spent many long, hot valley summers riding my bike to the library. The library became my favorite hangout because my family didn't have a swimming pool and the library was air-conditioned. That's how I got hooked on reading and books. After college, I knew that I wanted to work in a profession that had something to do with books and so I became a teacher. A friend encouraged me to write a book myself and that's when I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life. Today, I am a full-time writer and I still spend a lot of time at the library. When I start a new book, if it is nonfiction or historical fiction, the first thing I do is go to the library for research.
How do you start a new book?
When I actually start writing, there's really no mysterious secret. I sit at my computer and I just type a first draft. My first draft isn't very well written, but it gives me a jumping-off place. By the time one of my stories becomes a book, though, I have usually rewritten it somewhere between 20–30 times. I have written books for adults, picture books for children, and I recently completed my first novel for older students. I want kids to be hooked on reading and books, like I was.
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