57 pages 1 hour read

Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2000

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


Teacher Introduction

Esperanza Rising

  • Genre: Fiction; middle-grade historical
  • Originally Published: 2000
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 750L; grades 6-8
  • Structure/Length: 14 chapters; approximately 262 pages; approximately 4 hours, 35 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: Esperanza Ortega, a 13-year-old girl, is forced to flee from her wealthy life in Mexico to a labor camp in California during the Great Depression. The central conflict revolves around Esperanza’s struggle to adapt to her new life, overcome societal and racial prejudice, and journey toward self-discovery.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Poverty; racism and racial discrimination; loss of a parent; labor strikes

Pam Muñoz Ryan, Author

  • Bio: Born 1951; American author of children’s and young adult books; of Basque, Italian, and Oklahoman descent; received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in post-secondary education; works often deal with diverse racial and cultural themes; one of the prominent figures in contemporary children’s literature
  • Other Works: Riding Freedom (1998); Becoming Naomi León (2004); The Dreamer (2010); Echo (2015)
  • Awards: Jane Addams Children’s Book Award (2001); Willa Cather Award (2001); Pura Belpré Award (2002)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • The True Meaning of Wealth
  • The Importance of Family
  • Embracing New Beginnings

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Guide, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the historical methods people have used to measure time according to the changing seasons of the year, which impacts Esperanza’s understanding of the changes in her life.