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Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

When Esperanza's father is killed, she goes from a wealthy land-owner's daughter to a Mexican peasant in California. It is through many hardships and happy times in her new life that Esperanza discovers what it really means to be happy, and that having wealth does not make you a more valuable person.





Class Divide

Coming of Age




I really enjoyed this book! The characters, morals, and plot were all wonderful, and it is written really beautifully. I love the way it teaches Mexican-American history in a subtle way. I have one small issue with it, though, which is that once in a while it is difficult to relate to Esperanza, because she has a life very different from most kids today. Esperanza is used to having servants, and has never done a chore in her life. I don't know how this could have been improved, I just think it breaks the reader's connection with the character.

PROS Heartfelt

Represents Racism and Classism

Happy Ending

Violence and Scariness 2/5 Character is killed, but it is not described. Strikers throw rocks at workers. Sex and Romance 0/5 Slight mention of romance, but basically nothing!

CONS Very emotionally intense

Esperanza isn't always relatable

Emotional Intensity 4/5 Every chapter or two there is another major emotional event. It seems like the disasters never end, and many characters come close to death. Drinking and Drugs 0/5 Not present.

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