Friday, September 4, 2009

Esperanza Rising - Pam Muñoz Ryan

Pam Muñoz Ryan was born in Bakersfield California on Christmas Day in 1951. Her family is a typically American mix of Spanish, Basque, Mexican, Italian and Oklahoman (her words!)

Her first job out of college was being a teacher. (Teachers are the true heroes in my world!) She started writing later, and has written many, many award winning books. Esperanza Rising won the Pura Belpré award!

One thing I most appreciated learning about Ms Ryan is that her ancestors were all together, working on the farms during the Depression. Both Oklahomans fleeing the dust bowl, and Mexican immigrants went to the farms of California, hoping to find work.

And I loved the story she tells at the end of Esperanza Rising, about the medical tech being so concerned about her having the antibodies for "Valley Fever", and her total unconcern with that (as she was raised in The Valley that spawned Valley Fever!)

We'll talk more later about the language issue. In the English version of the book, Esperanza and all her friends and family seem to be speaking English. We're reading what they're saying in English. But toward the end of the book, Esperanza mentions that people around her are speaking English, and it bothers her that she doesn't know what they're saying. I love that Ms Ryan is so bilingual that she can bring up this issue.

Here are some of the books by Pam Muñoz Ryan that we have in our library catalog:

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