Saturday, January 29, 2011

Esperanza Rising (Briefly)

This modern classic of children's lit/middle readers somehow escaped me for years.  Pam Munoz Ryan's Depression-era tale of an affluent young Mexican girl whose family must move to the Central Valley in CA to become field workers - modeled in part on her own grandmother's experiences - offers us solid third person narration, clear and age-appropriate prose, a realistic look at farm workers' conditions at that time, and a pleasant coming-of-age story as well.  I enjoyed reviewing the Spanish words for vegetables and fruits, which serve as chapter titles, and overall I'm glad that I've got this one under my belt.  Yay for books on CD: They make errands and commutes so much more edifying and entertaining!

1.  Renew my membership in Southern Poverty Law Center, a wonderful organization that not only prosecutes hate crimes - often risking their lives to do so - but defends the rights of migrant and not-so-migrant farm workers.  They also publish a Teach Tolerance magazine resource for teachers.
2.  Use the Coalition of Immolakee Workers site to email Fred Meyer's (a local grocery/general merchandise chain) about supporting farm workers by allowing produce prices to rise slightly in order to offer humane wages.  I'll also print out a letter to bring to the TJ's store manager about it as well.  Materials for other stores and a map of what's in your area are available here too.  (Thanks, Mom, for forwarding me info. from this site a couple of weeks ago:  I did email TJ's, but recently found out that Fred Meyer offers Kroger's products...)

Just the Jist List
Title: Esperanza Rising
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Genre(s): historical fiction for young adults or middle readers
Book's Website:
Author's Website:
Year Published: 2000
Pages: 262
When was it read? January 25, 2011
Perfect Matches: young people interested in the Depression era, migrant workers, Mexican and CA history, coming-of-age stories
Perfect Timing: quick read w/period details, unique companion piece for Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath
Perfect NOT: not interested in US history, not interested issues of race and class in America
Content Fab Scale (1-5): ***
Why? Interesting details re: the customs of the time period, straightforward story, likable protagonist and supporting characters
Action Fab Scale (1-5): ***
Why? Plenty could be researched here, from time period to contemporary issues to current migrant workers' issues
# Yellow Stickies: 0
Why? Listened to it in the car: no stickies to hand. 
Get it:  (again, I'm not an affiliate - just making it easy to purchase)



Kristin said...

What a great review! Love your blog! I'm your newest follower-drop by and say hi if you get a chance!

Laurie said...

Thanks for joining me here, Kristin! Esperanza Rising was a sweet, straightforward novel, so I attempted to respond in kind by writing a sweet, straightforward post this time. You'll see that my reviews often reflect the tone of the book, and that they vary in length as my thoughts meander. Do let me know if you find the "Just the Jist" lists helpful or not, because I'm trying to decide whether/not to continue that feature...Off to your blog!

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