Saturday, February 13, 2010

Module #3

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan-Module #3
Munoz Ryan, Pam. Esperanza Rising. New York City: Scholastic. 2000.
Summary: Esperanza Rising is a tale of surviving hardships and change. Born well off and a little spoiled, Esperanza lives on a ranch in Mexico with her family. After her father's death and a tragic fire, Esperanza moves to Los Angelos to live as a migrant worker. Esperanza must learn to overcome the shattering differences in in former life and this new difficult one. Throughout everything, Esperanza struggles to keep her dignity and find happiness in a new and unjust world.
Tattered Cover says: This is a very touching book. Every kid could learn important lessons about bravery, strength, and hard work through Esperanza's struggles. This book instills respect for the common worker and those who struggle everyday just for a better life.
How to use this in the library: This book would be great in a study of the Great Depression to give other points of view. Most books on the Great Depression and the migration to California are based on "Okie" tales. This would also be great for Hispanic Appreciation or a cultural awareness project. However, I wouldn't want to pigeonhole this great literature to just ethnic literature. This is a book ALL students should read.
Reviews: Ryan uses the experiences of her own Mexican grandmother as the basis for this compelling story of immigration and assimilation, not only to a new country but also into a different social class. Esperanza's expectation that her 13th birthday will be celebrated with all the material pleasures and folk elements of her previous years is shattered when her father is murdered by bandits. His powerful stepbrothers then hold her mother as a social and economic hostage, wanting to force her remarriage to one of them, and go so far as to burn down the family home. Esperanza's mother then decides to join the cook and gardener and their son as they move to the United States and work in California's agricultural industry. They embark on a new way of life, away from the uncles, and Esperanza unwillingly enters a world where she is no longer a princess but a worker. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, the story of Esperanza remaking herself is satisfyingly complete, including dire illness and a difficult romance. Except for the evil uncles, all of the characters are rounded, their motives genuine, with class issues honestly portrayed. Easy to booktalk, useful in classroom discussions, and accessible as pleasure reading, this well-written novel belongs in all collections. Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, School Library Journal