Discrimination is a serious concern for immigrants, and Pam Munoz Ryan refuses to whitewash the issue in Esperanza Rising. Thirteen-year-old Esperanza has always lived in comfort on her family’s Mexico ranch. However her world of privilege is shattered when her father is murdered, leaving the family without a male figure to head their ranch. When Esperanza’s cruel uncle attempts to force her mother into a restraining marriage, and then later burns down their home, the broken family flees with their servants, Alfonso, Hortensia, and Miguel. Their flight to California forces them to leave behind the family’s matriarch, elderly Abuelita, who is too sick to make the difficult trip. When Esperanza enters her new life in the United States, she and her family are forced to find employment, and end up undertaking taxing farm labor. The newfound circumstances are further marred by the abject prejudice the Mexican family faces from Americans. Esperanza’s blossoming maturation in the face of potentially overwhelming challenges is at the heart of Ryan’s novel, and readers will find themselves cheering for the courageous and resourceful heroine. Esperanza Rising has garnered lavish praise from critics for its compelling plotline, as well as its deft dealing of the prejudicial issues surrounding immigrants. Highly recommended for readers ages 10 and up.