Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

I have looked at this book many times as I go through my book bins.  I have heard many times that this is a great book.  I have kept it in my library because I know others like it, but I had never read it until this week. I judge books by their cover, too much so, and whenever a book seems to be “too girly” I tend to stay away from them no matter how many people say I really should read it.

So imagine my surprise when I was handed this book upon my arrival in NYC and told this would be my fiction reading for the week.  I laughed inwardly since I felt this book was now demanding toe be read, whether I found it too girly or not.  I now get why so many people say to read it, I now get why I will become one of those people as well.  This book is easy to read, set in the 1930’s Mexico and United States, and written through the eyes of Esperanza, a young girl who doesn’t know how her life is about to change dramatically.  Esperanza and her journey spoke to me and I think many 5th graders can connect to it.

Bottom line: A worthy read for all 5th graders, even if the cover is deceiving.

From Goodreads:
Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.


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