Esperanza Rising

  • by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Narrated by Trini Alvarado
  • 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Amazon Customer "techchick94"

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.
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- Avalon "Bibliophile, English Teacher, Wordsmith"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-31-2003
  • Publisher: Listening Library