Book Review: Esperanza Rising

“I am poor, but I am rich. I have my children, I have a garden with roses, and I have my faith and the memories of those who have gone before me. What more is there?”
― Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising

erBook: Esperanza Rising (Paperback)
 Pages: 288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: May 1st 2002
ISBN: 9780439120425
Edition Language: English

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.

The Good…:

Esperanza Rising is a wonderful book about a young, wealthy Mexican girl whose family suffers a great tragedy as her country struggles to get back on its feet after the Mexican-American War caused dissension between the upper and lower classes. Forced to flee to California, Esperanza and her mother go from riches to rags working as migrant workers during the Great Depression. Esperanza must learn that she’s tougher than she ever believed possible, and that life is full of peaks and valleys. The talent is being capable of pulling yourself up via family, friends, and faith during the tough times so you can rise again once more.

Filled with rich history, this novel is great for upper elementary and middle school aged children, as well as for people of all ages. If a child is struggling with history, this novel brings the 1900’s alive, and ties historical events together in a way that moves beyond the dates themselves, as they are brought alive for new generations. Sadly, many of the political problems detailed in the book are still hot topics even today, but this helps make the book relatable.

Do I Recommend?

Yes! Esperanza Rising is a great book, that is enjoyable for people of all ages. The story is historically accurate, and very realistic.


This is my fourth completed review for the 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

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