Esperanza is a young, rich girl living a fairy-tale life in the 1930s with her wealthy parents, grandmother and servants, on a vineyard and ranch in Mexico, El Rancho de Ias Rosas. She lives an idyllic life surrounded by love and the comfort of tradition: watching the grapepicking, attending harvest fiestas, gathering bouquets of roses, and ...Read MoreEsperanza is a young, rich girl living a fairy-tale life in the 1930s with her wealthy parents, grandmother and servants, on a vineyard and ranch in Mexico, El Rancho de Ias Rosas. She lives an idyllic life surrounded by love and the comfort of tradition: watching the grapepicking, attending harvest fiestas, gathering bouquets of roses, and listening to Papa and the working men singing Las Mananitas on her birthday. Then one day, her world falls apart. Her Papa is killed by bandits and her greedy uncles will stop at nothing to seize their land. After watching her home burn, Esperanza and her mother know that their way of life is over and that they must flee to the United States, learning from their former servants how to work to survive. There they face back-breaking work, violence and discrimination, but through all the hardship, Esperanza discovers happiness, and the importance of friendship and family.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-09 Told in a lyrical, fairy tale - like style, Ryan's (riding Freedom) robust novel set in 1930 captures a Mexican girl's fall from riches, her immigration to California and her growing awareness of class and ethnic tensions. Thirteen-year-old Esperanza Ortega and her family are part of Mexico's wealthy, land-owning class in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Her father is a generous and well-loved man who gives his servants land and housing. Early in the novel, bandits kill Esperanza's father, and her corrupt uncles threaten to usurp their home. Their servants help her and her mother flee to the United States, but they must leave Esperanza's beloved Abuelita (grandmother) behind until they can send for her.Ryan poetically conveys Esperanza's ties to the land by crafting her story to the rhythms of the seasons. Each chapter's title takes its name from the fruits Esperanza and her countrymen harvest, firs in Aguascalientes, then in California's San Joaquin Valley. Ryan fluidly juxtaposes world events (Mexico's post-revolution tensions, the arrival of Oklahoma's Dust Bowl victims and the struggles between the U.S. government and Mexican workers trying to organize) with one family's will to survive - while introducing readers to Spanish words and Mexican customs.Readers will be swept up by vivid descriptions of California dust storms or by the police crackdown on a labor strike ("The picket signs lay on the ground, discarded, and like a mass of marbles that had already been hit, the strikers scattered?"). Ryan delivers subtle metaphors via Abuelita's pearl's of wisdom, and not until story's end will readers recognize how carefully they have been strung. Ages 9-14. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-08 "With a hint of magical realism, this robust novel set in 1930 captures a Mexican girl's fall from riches and her immigration to California," said PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 8-12. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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