Sunday, February 14, 2016

Esperanza Rising

Book: Esperanza Rising
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Genre: Children's
(No spoilers)

As with George, I didn't realize this was a children's book. I just looked up "book with a woman's name in it" for my annual reading challenge, and since Esperanza is a Hispanic name, I thought, "Bingo!"

This is a lovely children's book, and I can't wait for my own kids to discover it. I'm partial to it because it's got a bit of Mexican history in it. Being half Mexican, I like learning more about "that side's" history. I know a lot of American history already. :)

Esperanza starts her story as a wealthy teenager who knows nothing about the world except for what goes on in her hacienda. When her father is killed and danger comes to her mother, grandmother, and herself, Esperanza is thrust into whole new worlds: poverty, work, illness, exhaustion, America. Watching her deal with all these new experiences in 1930s California is touching.

The epilogue gives us some more insight on why this subject is so important to Pam Munoz Ryan. It's actually a dark time in American history, and very few of us realize it. Read this with your pre-teen and have fun discussing a slew of different concepts about life, privilege, work, and courage.

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