Students at the Sonia Gutierrez Campus have been reading the book Esperanza Rising by Pamela Munoz Ryan as part of One Book, One School campaign. Last year, students enjoyed reading the book I Am Malala and learned more about the author Malala Yousafzai, an inspiring young lady activist from Pakistan.
This year, each class was incorporated the book Esperanza Rising into their curriculum, with some using it as their main text, while others spent 15 minutes twice a week reading together and discussed the book. Among other activities, students were able to practice their reading aloud, honed their listening skills by using the audio version of the book, worked to develop their vocabulary and acting as moderators.
Through Esperanza’s story, Pam Munoz Ryan tells the story of Mexican migrant workers in California in the 1920s. The book talks about a young Mexican girl’s courage and resourcefulness when at the tender age of thirteen she finds herself living in a strange new world following the Mexican Revolution and during the Great Depression.
Students took time to read the book and reflecting on its themes and messages. Esperanza, whose name means “hope” in Spanish, is born to a world of pampered comfort and privilege on a large and successful ranch. Students explored some of the contrasts that Esperanza experiences when she suddenly falls from her lofty perch as the darling child of a wealthy landowner, surrounded by family and servants, to become a servant herself among an extended family of immigrant farm workers.
Students found the story fascinating. “The topic is so important for us. The book inspires us. I see how patience and hard work pay off,” Rosa, an ESL level 7 student, said. Another student, Juan, said: “I have learned that no matter difficulties that you go through, you must always hold on. Never give up.”