Beth Richards
Extension Project

Esperanza Rising
By Pam Muñoz Ryan

My project started off on rocky footing. At first I was unclear about the project and created a project as a teacher. Once I understood that I was creating the project as a student the process moved along a little more smoothly. As a student I enjoyed having a choice in the project I would do. I enjoy history and as I read the book the theme of immigration kept cropping up in my mind. My first thoughts were that it would be interesting to show how the book related to immigration. That whole idea was scratched, when my husband announced that he found a job opportunity in Pennsylvania and he wanted to know how my son and I felt about his applying for the job.

We talked about starting over, making new friends, what might be the same and what certainly will be different. I decided at that point to change the focus of my project to reflect Esperanza journey of growing up and making the best of what you think is the worst possible situation. I wanted to depict how Esperanza changed from a wealthy little girl without a care in the world to a mature young adult taking on great responsibilities, finding an inner strength she did not think she possessed and seeing the world from experiences she never imagined she would have.

Using the poem I reflected Esperanza’s journey and I used the collage to represent the important events along the way.

PowerPoint Presentation

Extension Project Self Assessment

 Describe the process you went through as you created your project.

Deciding what project to do was more difficult than I thought it would be. I finally narrowed down to two projects, a poem or a collage. In the end I did both. I enjoyed doing the poem because it gave me an avenue to describe how Esperanza changed from an immature, entitled, and self- centered child in the beginning of the book to a mature, independent, and thoughtful young adult at the end of the book. The collage was a fun way to use pictures to talk about the book, by identifying the main events in the story. For example I chose a rose to represent Papa and the idea that Esperanza finally realized that Papa would live on in her memory and in the roses that were replanted.

 In what ways does your project reflect an important part of the book?

The poem reflects the most important part of the book, which is Esperanza’s understanding that when life gives us lemons, we need to make lemonade. At the end of the book Esperanza tells Isabel “Do not ever be afraid to start over.” I use this phrase in the last stanza of the poem. The last stanza of the poem describes Esperanza’s growth and new understanding about herself. She has dreams she thought she would never have and memories that will she will cherish always and be a large part of making her dreams realities.

 How does this project show what you have learned about the book?

Through the collage I showed that I learned about the living conditions of the migrant farmers during the depression and their hard life. The quilt represents life’s ups and downs and how Esperanza and her family overcame their hardship to make a new life.

 When someone views your project, what will they learn about your book?

People will learn that this is a book about growing up, making changes, and finding out that you don’t know what you are capable of until life challenges you to rise to the occasion. They would learn that Esperanza thought her life would always be filled with pretty dresses, servants and wealth. She never imagined she could work in the fields, or processing fruits and vegetable from morning to night. She did not know that she was strong physically, emotionally and mentally and that she would need strength in all these areas to take care of her family. They would also learn that Esperanza now saw life from the side other side of the fence. The prejudice she saw made her feel angry.  

Hill, B.C., Schlick Noe, K.L., & Johnson, N.J. Literature Circles Resource Guide
© 2003 Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc