Sunday, November 20, 2005

Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza has a beautiful life as the privileged daughter of a wealthy Patron in Aguascalientes Mexico in the 1920s. But then her father is killed and her mother and her are forced to flee to the United States. Settling in the San Joaquin Valley, they become farm workers, harvesting vegetables and fruits for the companies there is back breaking poverty. But despite dealing with her mother's illness and the threat of strikes, Esperanza learns that wealth comes in many forms.

A heartwarming and exciting read. Unfortunately, because of its hispanic themes, it seems to be one of those books that schools use to prove they are multicultural by forcing the kids to read. I suspect that that makes a generation of middle school readers HATE this book. That is sad, because it is a beautiful book, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez for kids. I personally enjoyed all the references to Bakersfield and Kern County Hospital, since I worked there for 14 months. Highly recommended.

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