Book Review: Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan Should 5th Graders Read It?

Imagine your 5th-grade class absolute silent, listening & reading along with a book with you? Sounds too good to be true, right? I agree! I have taught 5th grade for four years now and every time we do a class read there are the occasional talking, wanting to go to the restroom, not tracking the book properly, fake reading. etc... AND I KNOW that is not only 5th grade that acts like that? In a nutshell, the class books we choose are ones we try to grab the most Common Core Standards and then grasping at straws in hoping it keeps their interests. What if we did the opposite? Why don't we find a book that has a plot that has many cliffhangers, can visualize very well, has the main character close to their age, and teaches life lessons too? All of this on top of the Common Core Standards too? A book like that seems too good to be true! Well, I am here to tell you that the book Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a book that 5th graders SHOULD READ!

Synopsis of the Book according to Pam Munoz Ryan's website:
Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a girl could want: dresses; a home filled with servants in Mexico; and the promise of one day presiding over El Rancho de las Rosas. But a tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and her mother to flee to Arvin, California and settle in a farm camp. There, they confront the challenges of work, acceptance, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression.

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A Teacher's Perspective
I have done a multitude of books in the form of class read, independent read, small group, and lit circles. BUT, no book has gotten the attention of my 5th graders so much that they whine and cry because we finished our reading for the day. Seriously, WHINE AND CRY. I have had more than three classes read this book and each one of them got so into it that they tried to cheat and read it instead of their personal books to see what will happen next. 

Not to say this is a downside, but you have to do some background pre-teaching about what happened in Mexico and the United States in the early 1900's. You don't have to do it, but it would really help them understand the story better. Also, it does place a decent amount of spanish, but it does give the English translation almost immediately after. 

This book hits many 5th grade ELA Common Core Standards. MANY. You can seriously hit almost all the ELA if you really wanted to, but we all have time constraints. I have taught this book as slowly as a chapter a week to as fast as three chapters a week. You don't have to hit all the possible standards, but you can definitely hit the major ones. 

Now teaching ELA using this book for three years in a row, I can definitely recommend this book to teach 5th grade with. It peaks their interest, there are MANY resources available (TPT or not) to help teach the book, hits many Common Core ELA standards, there are audio resources for those who struggle, and the book is based on a true story! Please click here to go buy it! 

Why Should 5th Graders Read It? 
Besides the repeated tellings of how this book can use to teach many ELA Common Core Standards? Because the story grabs the students interest! Not only is the story interesting to them in terms they 90% can understand, but the fact that many students can relate to the story in some way. In the modern times, we are in, many more kids are coming to us with problems that no one should go through. This story will relate to them to some level of going through hard times and trying again even though it doesn't feel you should. So, in a nutshell, this book has something for everyone. This book can help your class A LOT!

After teaching this book for three years and to a multitude amount of students, I can say with confidence this book will not only help you teach the 5th Grade Common Core Standards efficiently, but the plot of this book will connect with students that many other can't. This book is highly recommended and pretty inexpensive! Please Click here to buy the book or click the on the book! 

Thank you for coming to read this Book Review: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. Don't forget to comment below if you have a question. Better yet, SHARE IT! If you would like to get in contact with me: 

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