Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses; a beautiful home filled with servants in the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico; and the promise of one day rising to Mama's position and presiding over all of El Rancho de las Rosas. But a sudden tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. There they confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill from Valley Fever and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past and learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.
About the Author
Pam Munoz Ryan grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California and now lives with her family near San Diego. She based this story on the experiences of her maternal grandmother whose privileged life in Mexico was altered dramatically when she immigrated to the United States and went to work in a company-owned farm labor camp. She is the author of the acclaimed Riding Freedom and Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, an ALA Notable Children's Book.