October 11th, 2015 by Karen
In only a few days, Hispanic Heritage Month will come to an end. (Why is it 9/15-10/15 instead of an actual calendar month? I don’t know. Just go with it…) Before it’s over, I want to recommend an amazing novel that will give you a peek into the lives of Mexican immigrants during the Great Depression: Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Full disclosure: I used to work at the company that published this book, and I contributed to a website with activities and materials about the book. But I would have loved Esperanza Rising regardless of how I discovered it! The story is full of twists and the characters are really believable, and it transports you to another time and place that you may not know much about:
Esperanza lives with her loving and wealthy family in Mexico. But tragically, her father is killed by bandits one night. Esperanza and her mother are forced to flee to California, where they must start over with nothing. They find a home with a camp of migrant workers, and Esperanza’s mom immediately takes on hard labor in order to make ends meet. But it’s harder for Esperanza to forget the past and the comfortable lifestyle she was used to in Mexico.
Luckily, Esperanza has a friend in Miguel, whose family moved from Mexico to the U.S. with Esperanza and her mother. But not everyone at the camp is a fan of Esperanza’s. And then things get even worse — and it’s up to Esperanza to keep herself and her mother safe, plus earn enough money to bring her grandmother to join them from Mexico.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you will love this book. But even if not, I think you’ll find it a fascinating and enjoyable read. Plus, I should mention there’s a little bit of romance too, if you’re into that!
Want to check out an excerpt from Esperanza Rising? You can do that at that website I used to work on!
Have you read Esperanza Rising or any of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s other books? Are you reading something else for Hispanic Heritage Month? Leave a comment and let us know!