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Esperanza Rising
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About the Author

Pam Munoz Ryan is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo, as well as the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature for her body of work. Her celebrated novels, Echo, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Paint the Wind, have received countless accolades, among them two Pura Belpre Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and two Americas Awards. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride and When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Ryan lives near San Diego, California, with her family.

Reviews

Gr 6-9-Inspired by her grandmother's immigration stories, Pamela Mu-oz Ryan (Scholastic 2000) offers valuable glimpses of the lives of Mexican-American farm workers during the Depression. When her father dies, 13-year-old Esperanza and her mother are forced to abandon their privileged lives and move to California. At first the proud girl is appalled that they must share a cramped row house and work at menial jobs, but when her mother becomes gravely ill, she learns the value of generous friends and her own inner resources. This coming-of-age story also looks at the economic and social issues of that era, and the author's note adds valuable factual information. Trini Alvarado's narration is adroit and melodic as she handles text that skillfully intersperses Spanish phrases and songs. Pairing this story with Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Cat Running (Delacorte, 1994) will give listeners broader insights into the difficulties of the 1930's. This recording is a solid choice for all elementary and middle school audiobook collections, and a necessity for libraries serving Spanish-speaking populations.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Told in a lyrical, fairy tale - like style, Ryan's (riding Freedom) robust novel set in 1930 captures a Mexican girl's fall from riches, her immigration to California and her growing awareness of class and ethnic tensions. Thirteen-year-old Esperanza Ortega and her family are part of Mexico's wealthy, land-owning class in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Her father is a generous and well-loved man who gives his servants land and housing. Early in the novel, bandits kill Esperanza's father, and her corrupt uncles threaten to usurp their home. Their servants help her and her mother flee to the United States, but they must leave Esperanza's beloved Abuelita (grandmother) behind until they can send for her.Ryan poetically conveys Esperanza's ties to the land by crafting her story to the rhythms of the seasons. Each chapter's title takes its name from the fruits Esperanza and her countrymen harvest, firs in Aguascalientes, then in California's San Joaquin Valley. Ryan fluidly juxtaposes world events (Mexico's post-revolution tensions, the arrival of Oklahoma's Dust Bowl victims and the struggles between the U.S. government and Mexican workers trying to organize) with one family's will to survive - while introducing readers to Spanish words and Mexican customs.Readers will be swept up by vivid descriptions of California dust storms or by the police crackdown on a labor strike ("The picket signs lay on the ground, discarded, and like a mass of marbles that had already been hit, the strikers scattered?"). Ryan delivers subtle metaphors via Abuelita's pearl's of wisdom, and not until story's end will readers recognize how carefully they have been strung. Ages 9-14. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Awards and Praise for Esperanza Rising: Pura Belpre Award WinnerAmericas Award Honor BookJane Addams Children's Book Award WinnerWilla Cather Award WinnerLos Angeles Times Book Prize FinalistILA Notable Book for a Global SocietyALA Top Ten Best Books for Young AdultsNew York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and SharingA Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year* Told in a lyrical, fairy tale-like style . . . Readers will be swept up. --Publishers Weekly, starred review* This well-written novel belongs in all collections. -- School Library Journal, starred reviewRyan writes a moving story in clear, poetic language that children will sink into, and the book offers excellent opportunities for discussion and curriculum support. -- BooklistRyan's... style is engaging, her characters appealing, and her story is one that-though a deep-rooted part of the history of California, the Depression, and thus the nation-is little heard in children's fiction. It bears telling to a wider audience. -- Kirkus Reviews

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