But a sudden tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. There they confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill from Valley Fever and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past and learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.
Pam Munoz Ryan eloquently portrays the Mexican workers' plight in this abundant and passionate novel that gives voice to those who have historically been denied one.
©2000 Pam Munoz Ryan; (P)2001 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, An Imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group
"Rich in history and culture, this novel is all the more successful in the audio format." (AudioFile)
"Ryan writes movingly in clear, poetic language that children will sink into."(Booklist)
Bibliophile, English Teacher, Wordsmith
Esperanza's privileged childhood in no way prepares her for the brutal reality of the migrant farm worker she abruptly becomes. The unforgettable events that propel Esperanza out of her life of ease and thrust her onto the lowest rung of Depression-era California agricultural work are swift, tragic, and irreversible.
Esperanza's initial attempts to adjust to her new life are inept and unsuccessful, complicated by her anger and arrogance, as she yearns for all she has lost. Slowly, she redefines herself, as she begins to recognize her enduring beliefs and values in unexpected forms in her new circumstances. Her courage and resilience fortify her, and love ultimately lifts her above the perplexing conditions and painful tragedies she must overcome. The fact that "Esperanza" is based on a true story adds considerable emotional depth to this intriguing slice of historical fiction.
The story is enhanced by the truly masterful narration of Trini Alvarado. Ms. Alvarado does not read this book, she performs it, revealing the cultural nuances and inhabiting each character in turn, most especially Esperanza.
Even though I found this from my son's school book order form, I loved this story! I can't wait to share it with more children, especially family members who should hear about the history of our Central Valley in CA and how our grandparents lived as farm workers in order to make our lives easier. It was like hearing a story from my own Grammy. Please, Ms. Munoz, write more!
This book was amazing. Not only does it poignantly tell the story of a rich, spoiled girl losing everything and having to come to terms with a new life in a strange land, but you get such an eye-opening look at the lives of the people who came to work in the fields of Southern California and the surrounding areas during the early 1900s (dust bowl and Depression years). The characters are realistically portrayed and the time period is brought to life in this story. I was touched by this tale--Esperanza is an inspiration that we can all "rise above" whatever life brings us.
This is a book about loss, despair, reality, love, understanding, growing, hope and acceptance. As I continue to listen to this book, I can feel the emotions that Esperanza goes through. I can taste the fruits she picks. I can sense the loss she had. I can see the struggles. I can go on. In short, it is a must-read/must-listen to book.
Also, the narrator did really well in portraying the emotions of the characters. Because she played her emotions well, it made it so much more fascinating to listen to the stoty.
book lover and mom
Trini Alvarado does a wonderful job narrating Pam Munoz Ryan's book about a Mexican girl, born wealthy but now working on a farm during the 1920s.
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