Review: Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising :: Children's Book Review
Image Source: Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac

Esperanza Rising

Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Illustrator: Joe Capeda

Published in 2000 by Scholastic Inc.

*Middle Grade

Esperanza Rising is a beautifully crafted story that starts in Aguascalientes, Mexico and follows Esperanza’s family to California in the midst of the Great Depression. Their immigration is to escape the aftermath of tragedy that strikes their family including the death of Esperanza’s wealthy ranch owner father and their house mysteriously burning down after her mother declines to marry Esperanza’s despicable step uncle. Once at a labor camp in California, Esperanza starts working for the first time in her life with aspirations of earning enough money to provide for her family, bring her Abuelita to California, and care for her sick mother. This story is one of hope, determination, and love that would be wonderful for young adults who are seeking a valuable and captivating story of encouragement in overcoming hardship.

*Pura Belpré Award

Additional Resources:

Author’s notes on inspiration and background of the book:

Author interview transcript:


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