Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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.
Themes/Topics: history, family, immigration, new beginnings, discrimination
Suggested Reading Level (Native Speakers): Ages 8 – 12
Suggested Reading Level (ESL): Low-intermediate to intermediate
This Guide: This guide is divided into six sections by page number. However, each section is further divided by chapter, in case you want to divide the book in a different way in your class. Each section includes: suggested vocabulary, comprehension questions, writing/discussion questions, quotes (these quotes are good for practicing analysis and using textual evidence to support an opinion), and research/extension activities (these cover topics throughout the entire book).
This book was a very enjoyable, yet emotional read. I picked it because of its universal themes and historical setting, but I did not expect to cry so much at the end of the book! I think all ESL students will find something in Esperanza Rising to connect with.