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Publisher's Summary

Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses; a beautiful home filled with servants in the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico; and the promise of one day rising to Mama's position and presiding over all of El Rancho de las Rosas.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 09-03-2016

Outstanding!

I loved this book and hated for it to end! You can't help but fall in love with the characters, especially Esperanza.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 14-04-2016

GET THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW

This is THE BEST book ever. I want another one. Just picture it "Esperanza Rising 2"!!! Just when you thought you had a favorite book this one hits you in the face with a fish. And you're like woah! I love this book". It will make you feel like you are living with them in the setting. I want to go to Mexico and the government camp where they working. No matter what anyone says you should love this book. I'll be in a club with you because you and me love this book so much. READ THE BOOK RIGHT NOW!!! Buy it. Read it. Love it. Guaranteed.
-(this was written by me a 12 year old)
P.S Get the book now (last time)

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jlyn
  • 08-01-2016

Enjoyed this book!

Good for young readers 12 and up in my opinion, and the book was able to keep my attention too! Lovely story!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gina
  • 06-07-2007

outstanding...

This book is one of my all time favorites, I recommend it to anyone ages 7-70! It is outstanding!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Avalon
  • 01-04-2013

Courage, resilience, and love


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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Monica
  • 24-03-2006

Local history

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!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-10-2004

This book rises above the rest!

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Seth
  • 15-03-2017

Beautiful Story and Performance

What made the experience of listening to Esperanza Rising the most enjoyable?

The performer reads this story so beautifully. I liked the book Esperanza Rising the first time I read it, but I fell in love with the story when I listened to Trini Alvarado read it.

What did you like best about this story?

The story takes place in Mexico and California. Ryan does a lovely job describing the surroundings and the experiences as Esperanza grows from an overindulged child to a compassionate, hardworking migrant farm worker.

Which character – as performed by Trini Alvarado – was your favorite?

Esperanza - of course,. Alvarado makes the story come alive for the listeners.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • tnjayhawk
  • 14-08-2018

Beautiful

My 5th grader and I loved this read! so powerful and relevant to today's political climate.

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  • Kristina
  • 04-08-2018

5th Grade Novel Study

I had to read this novel over the summer to prepare for my 5th grade reading classes. This is the book I decided to start the semester off with. I think my students will really be able to make connections with the story. We live in rural West Texas. Many families go to Mexico every weekend to visit their families. There were a few moments young Esperanza’s character was hard to listen to, but I couldn’t stop listening. The plot is wonderful with many opportunities to practice mental images!

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  • A. Shah
  • 06-05-2018

One of our favorites

My 8 year olds were riveted by this story. The adults listening enjoyed it too. The narrator's voice and performance were fantastic.