This book is recommended for grades 4th-8th.

Challenging Words

-beacon, condolences, pungent, trance, canvas, jostled, undulating, careening, untethered, accosting, gingerly,valise
By Cecilia T.

Pictures of Rich to Poor


Pictures of Spanish food

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Esperanza Rising is about a girl whose life has gone from rich and wealthy to a life of hard work and poverty. The main character of the story is Esperanza. She lives on a large ranch in Mexico and is like the princess of the ranch. On her thirteenth birthday, her father is found dead. He was murdered by robbers. Esperanza’s uncle, Tio Luiz, tries to force her mother to marry him now that his brother is dead. He even burned their house down. Mama doesn’t want to marry him, and she doesn’t want him to harm Esperanza, so she decides to take Esperanza to America with Hortensia, Miguel, and Alfonso, their servants. They wanted to bring Abuelita, but she injured her ankle in the fire. On their way to America, they meet several other poor people on a train. On this train, there is a little girl who wanted to play with Esperanza’s doll, but Esperanza was selfish and snobby towards her. When Mama saw this, she was disappointed at Esperanza, and to make the little girl feel better, she makes her a yarn doll. When they reach California, they meet a girl named Marta who lived in the camp her whole life. They also meet Isabel, Pepe, Lupe, Juan, and Josefina, Miguel’s relatives. She was very mean to Esperanza at first. At the camp, Esperanza is shocked to see that her new home that she will live in with other people is like the horse stables at her old home. Later on in the story, she must take care of Pepe and Lupe alone when Isabel goes to school. She fed them plums when they were hungry, but it made hem very sick. Although she didn’t know much, she knew that when she was sick, Hortensia gave her rice water. So to make the babies feel better, she gave them rice water. One day, a dust storm hits the camp. Mama inhaled some dust and became very ill. She was admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia. In order to pay the hospital bills, Esperanza starts to work in the barn with the other women. Marta and her followers had planned to strike in the asparagus season, but most of them were put on buses to be sent to Mexico even if they were U.S. citizens and had never even been to Mexico. The other workers cannot afford to strike because they want to make money and take care of their families. When Mama gets better, Esperanza works to bring Abuelita to America. Because she and Miguel got into a big fight, he stole her money and left to find a job. They later find out that Miguel had brought Abuelita to America while waiting for a job. Throughout the story, Esperanza matures and become a responsible young woman. In the end, Esperanza realizes that true happiness is having those you love most to by your side.
By Cecilia T. and Alexis B.

Links for Games


By Monica N.

Esperanza Rising Test.doc

Answer Key.doc

By Alexis B.

Biography of the Author

Pam Munoz Ryan is the author of Esperanza Rising. Pam Munoz Ryan has written more than twenty- five books for young people. Her book, Esperanza Rising, was awarded the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Peace Award, an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, and the Americas Award Honor Book. Her other books have gotten her several other awards, such as: the national Willa Cather Award, and the California Young Reader Medal. Her picture books have been awarded the ALA Sibert Honor and NCTE’s Orbis Pictures Award. She received her college degrees at San Diego State University, and lives with her husband and four children. She was born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She is the eldest of her three sisters and also the eldest of her twenty- three cousins on her mother’s side. She grew up with her family members close by. She considers herself a true American because she has a mixed ethnic background. She spent most of her summers in the library. It was her favorite place to hang out because her family did not have a pool and the library had air conditioning. After college, she knew she wanted to work with books and thought about teaching. So she became a teacher then an administrator. She later started her first book with encouragement from her friend which is when she finally realized what she wanted to do, become a writer.
By Cecilia T.

Oral Presentation Artifacts

Alexis B. drew the novel's cover.