Esperanza is from a wealthy family in Aguascalientes, Mexico. One day bandits kill her father. The family lawyer informs Ramona, Esperanza’s mother, that the ranch will go to Señor Ortega’s step brother, Luis Ortega. Luis plans to use Ramona to boost his political career. He tells Ramona she must marry him if she wants to live on the ranch. Ramona refuses. The ranch burns in a mysterious fire. Luis offers marriage a second time. Ramona does not accept. Instead, she takes Esperanza and flees to America. They move to the San Joaquin Valley in California. They move into a small worker home with Alfonso’s brother and his family. There Mama works alongside the migrant workers in the sheds packing the harvest. Esperanza takes care of the babies and cooks dinner for the family.
Ramona’s life changes completely. She goes from having servants to living in a poor Mexican labor camp. The story follows Esperanza through years of hardship.
Students will enjoy making these character trait cards. The cards make a great interactive notebook page.
First students write a brief description of 15 main characters. Answer keys are also included. Once created, the cards may be sorted by where the characters were born: Mexico or the United States.
This is a great way to help students remember the large number of characters while they practice an important skill.
Ten Interesting Facts . . . The Great Depression
The novel takes place during the Great Depression. In my Ten Interesting Facts Series, I created a page on The Great Depression. This page not only includes interesting facts, but some of the information is presented in tables. Reading about the price of goods is a fun way to teach students to better understand tables. The nonfiction companion piece is also a great way to teach close reading. Some facts are hard to believe. For example, doctors only made $3172 a year.
Additional Teaching Resources on the Web
Get a free book unit sample here.
Do you need additional teaching resources? Check out Esperanza Rising Book Unit on Teachers pay Teachers.