Author: Pam Munoz Ryan (2000)
Page Length: 262
Reading Level: 5-7
Genre: Realistic Fiction
PLOT SUMMARY: As the story begins, Esperanza Ortega, the daughter of Sixto and Ramona Ortega, rich land owners of the Rancho de Las Rosas, is living in Mexico. Esperanza is six years old and loves spending time with her father who teaches her how to be patient and feel the earth. The story, set right after the end of the Mexican Revolution quickly moves to six years later, on the eve of Esperanza's 13th birthday. Esperanza is anticipating her father's arrival home after a long day at the fields.
However, her father does not return and Alfonso, the boss of the field workers, delivers the bad news to Esperanza, her mother, and abuelita that her father has been ambushed and killed by bandits who roam the fields. Many people come to mourn Sixto Ortega's death and give their condolonces for their loss. Esperanza’s two uncles, Tio Luis and Tio Marco come every day to “sort” through her father’s paperwork. They bring the news to Esperanza’s mother that they have inherited the land and that she can remain on the ranch only if she agrees to marry Tio Luis. Tio Luis, the local bank director, plans to send Esperanza away to boarding school. After their house burns down to the ground, Ramona takes action to protect herself and her daughter from Tio Luis. Ramona tells Tio Luis that she will marry him to stall him from acting up on his threats. Ramona and Esperanza must leave abuelita behind her ankle when the house burned down. She decides to move to California with Alfonso, Hortensia, and Miguel to find work and a build themselves a better life. Ramona plans to work in the fields helping with the various crops that are grown in California. This offers a better life to Alfonso’s family, but not to Esperanza and her mother. They are leaving a life of prominence, luxury and wealth to live with their former employees in...