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I’ve been having some summer fun shining the spotlight on “notable women.” To me, notable women are women who have made a difference in this world due to their actions or talents. Last week I had fun sharing some American History with notable woman, Sybil Ludington thanks to my “head elf,” Becky.
This week I want to focus on the wonderful works of one of our favorite authors, Pam Munoz Ryan.
Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of more that thirty books for young readers, including four beloved novels, Riding Freedom, Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi León, and Paint the Wind, which collectively have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpré Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. She lives in Southern California with her family. You can visit her at www.PamMunozRyan.com.
And according to myintern Hannah, one of Pam’s books Esperanza Rising is one of her all time favorite books which she goes to again and again. I think we can say that Esperanza Rising is a close and dear friend to Hannah. So here is a closer look at one of the many wonderful books written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Esperanza Ortega lives a live of privilege in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Her father owns El Rancho de las Rosas where he grows rows of roses and grapes. Esperanza is treated like a princess, with beautiful gifts, loving parents, loyal servants, and wonderful friends.
When bandits kill her father, her mother and her lives are uprooted. Her evil uncles wish to take over the ranch and her eldest uncle to marry her mother, Esperanza, Ramona, and their loyal servants are forced to flee Mexico, leaving an ill Abuelita to heal with her sisters at the convent. With all their papers in order, they sneak out of Aguascalientes by cover of darkness to travel into the United States for work.
Here, Esperanza discovers the hardships of life, responsibility, and so many other experiences that her life of privilege had shielded her from.
She, along with 5 other people, live in a two room cabin with no warm water in California. They work unreasonable hours, but they must work, or there will be no food on the table. Being only thirteen, Esperance lucks out of having real work, instead being charged with watching the babies and sweeping. That is, until her mother falls ill with Valley Fever.
Five months, Esperanza prays for her mother as she heals in the hospital. In less than a year, Esperanza has lost her father, had to leave her abuelita, watched her mother grow weaker, and begin to work with the rest of the women. To her, hope does not exist. Will the valleys, as abuelita says, ever turn into mountain tops?
Esperanza Rising has a special place in my heart. As a child, I read this book several times, and at the time, I was not sure why I was so connected to this novel, with a lifestyle that I could not relate to. It doesn’t matter that I cannot empathize with the situation because I love these characters. Esperanza is alive—her temper, her kindness, her selfishness, her newly learned wisdom. All the characters are so alive, that I believe they are real. And that is what makes this story so amazing. Ms. Ryan based this story off of the life of her grandmother. To her, these are real people, and because of this truth of them, this idol to hold them up to, they are made all the more real for us. I love this book, because I am an only child, because I love my mother and my grandmother who smells like peppermint.
Ms. Ryan also offers interesting insight into the Mexican Repatriation in her Author’s note. This is one note that you don’t want to ignore.
Other stellar books from Pam Muñoz Ryan:
Something To Do Book-Inspired Activities:
Rosehip Tea recipe (like Hortensia makes). Rose hips produce a mild, tangy, fruity tea. Use them solo or combined with a hint of fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves. Chilled and sweetened with stevia, the tea is a vitamin-rich, sugar-free alternative to fruit juices or Kool-Aid that is appealing to kids and adults alike. Grab the full process HERE.
Crochet a Shawl (like Abuelita). Hopeful Honey has great tips on Crochet for Beginners.
Yarn Dolls (for all of Isabel’s friends). Yarns are fun and easy to make (great project for kids!) Get the full tutorial at Little House Living.
**some of these links are affiliate links
I was given a copy of this book for this for review. The opinions expressed are purely my own.
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