It was has been 15 years since Pam Nuñoz Ryan's award winning book, Esperanza Rising, was first published.
The story begins in post-Revolutionary Mexico where Esperanza Ortega is a wealthy girl who has everything she needs and wants, and has never experienced hardship. One day, Esperanza's beloved father is killed by bandits resulting in Esperanza and her mother, Ramona, suddenly losing everything.
Ramona escapes Mexico along with her former servants' family taking Esperanza with her. They migrate to California to find work in the fields in a Mexican labor camp during the Great Depression.
Esperanza and her mother face many hardships both physically and mentally. Esperanza has to quickly learn that she is no longer the served, but at the level of the servants, or worse. The story is the transformation of her character from a young girl with not a care in the world, to one full of hardships who learns to persevere.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary Scholastic has a great page with the author, Pam Nuñoz Ryan reading an excerpt from Esperanza Rising. Pam Muñoz Ryan was inspired to write by the stories she heard as a child from her grandmother, Esperanza Ortega Muñoz, so it is a book that is near and dear to her heart.
Esperanza Rising is a great novel to use in the classroom. There are so many curriculum topics that this book can be paired with. Great Depression Era California and the migrant worker population, and the study of the Mexican Labor Camps in Depression Era times; using the story to look at the historical, social, and cultural circumstances that help to account for the great challenges for migrants upon coming to the United States.
The book also leads to in-depth exploration of the character study of Esperanza as she suddenly falls from her comfortable perch as the beloved child of a wealthy landowner surrounded by family and servants to quickly becoming a servant herself among an extended family of immigrant farm workers. The changes that Esperanza undergoes as she discovers herself and her strengths as she grows from a pampered child into a resourceful and responsible young woman are ripe for discussion and detailed study.
The Esperanza Rising Novel Study offered in my store gives a complete study of the topics above. The novel study not only provides higher order thinking questions for each chapter, vocabulary activities for 118 words, writing activities that explore the character transformation of Esperanza and the real life aspects of the story, but also an in-depth activity that explores the allegory used throughout the novel and the meanings behind it.
Please visit my store to check out my novel study for Esperanza Rising as part of your celebration of the 15th anniversary!