Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.




In this episode, Cara and I chat about, “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Munoz Ryan.


I feel like Sanda Sherdin, a listener said in the hangout sums up everything we loved about the book:

I really loved the perspective on the era, immigration, the struggle of migrant workers, and prejudices. Stories like this are huge at developing empathy for people in positions we otherwise wouldn’t even know how to imagine. More than anything though, I loved the identity story. Esperanza first found her identity in her father, her status, and her pretty things. When those were sadly and undeservedly stripped away, she began to learn and reveal who she really was all along: a beautiful girl, inside and out, full of fight and hope! She discovered and revealed that her richness had nothing to do with her circumstances after all.











We both loved the change of pace with choosing a middle grade book and we found so many parallels between Esperanza’s story and many people in our country who are either undocumented or navigating an immigration system that’s full of gaps.  We both felt so energized to learn and explore the ways we can seek shalom for the foreigner.  So next week, I’ve invited my friend,  Sarah Quezada, the author of A Life with Subtitles to share tell her story of falling in love with a man who is an undocumented worker.

We also give an announcement that we’re changing our summer books.  We’re still reading, “Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God” by Lauren Winner, but we’re changing the July and August books.

We hope you pop over to the hangout and share your thoughts on  Shalom Sista Hangout  and to get the skinny on the new books we’ve chosen for July and August.

Grab your copy of, “Wearing God” and join us next month.

Also, have you downloaded your FREE #SummerofShalom Guide yet?  No?  Well you can do that here.


Shalom My Sistas,