This discussion guide for Esperanza Rising features guided student questions with answers provided for an instructor. Book Summary
Esperanza believed her life would be wonderful forever. She would always live on her family's ranch in Mexico. She would always have fancy dresses and a beautiful home filled with servants. Papa and Abuelita would always be with her. But a sudden tragedy shatters her world and Esperanza and Mama flee to California, where they settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, and lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick, and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life and her own depend on it. Author Information
Pam Muñoz Ryan, has written over 25 books for young people including the novel, Esperanza Rising, winner of the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Peace Award, an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, and the Americas Award Honor Book. Her novel,Riding Freedom has garnered many awards including the national Willa Cather Award, and the California Young Reader Medal. Her picture books for the very young and picture books for older readers, include the award-winning Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride andWhen Marian Sang, the recipient of the ALA Sibert Honor and NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award. She received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees at San Diego State University. She now lives in north San Diego County with her husband and four children. Pam Muñoz Ryan was born and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley. She is the oldest of three sisters and the oldest of twenty-three cousins on her mother's side. She grew up with many of her aunts and uncles and grandparents nearby and considers herself truly American because her cultural background is an ethnic smorgasbord. She is Spanish, Mexican, Basque, Italian, and Oklahoman. During many long, hot valley summers, she spent most of her time riding her bike to the library. It became her favorite hang out because her family didn't have a swimming pool and the library was air-conditioned! That's how she got hooked on reading and books. After college, she knew that she wanted to work in a profession that had something to do with books, and she thought that would be teaching. She became a teacher, an administrator and then, at the encouragement of a friend who thought she could write, began her first book. That's when she finally knew what she really wanted to do. Suggested Answers to Literature Circle Questions
1. How is Esperanza planning to spend her birthday? What does she anticipate happening? What actually happens? Esperanza anticipates a fiesta on her birthday, beginning with a serenade from her father and the men on the ranch, followed by many beautiful gifts (pp. 9-10). Instead, her father does not return from the field and later his body is found (p. 22) and she learns he has been killed by bandits (p. 24). 2. Who is Tío Luis? What does he want from Esperanza's mother? Does Esperanza like him? Why? Tio Luis is one of Papa's stepbrothers (Tio Marco is the other) and the local bank president. After Papa's death, he wants to marry Mama so that he not only inherits the land, but also influence and power so that he can run for governor (pp. 31-33). Esperanza does not like Tio Luis, she thinks he is too "serious and gloomy," and that he and Tio Marco "looked like two underfed billy goats," (p. 19). Her father had said Tio Luis loves "money and power more than people," and he is considered a "devious, dangerous man," (p. 33). He threatens to make life impossible for Mama if she will not marry him, and to send Esperanza away to boarding school if she does. 3. Why do Esperanza and Mama have to leave El Rancho de las Rosas? Why do they have to leave in secret? Tio Luis burns the ranch to the ground (pp. 39-42) and threatens to...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document