Esparanza Rising is a great read. I say the book is appropriate for 8 to 12 year olds. I think it is an easy read. But the suggested level is actually Junior High level.
This story is about a little rich girl from Mexico whose father is murdered by bandits. (I think the Uncle is involved because soon after the father dies, Esperanza’s uncle comes around proposing her mother marry him.) In reading this book to my son, I realize the book is much more than just cultural. This book is very political. And you can use it to talk about systems of government.
You can use the book to talk about freedom, order, equality and corruption. When the father dies, the uncle seems to want power and influence. And proposes to her mother because of the mothers influence. Back in 1930s, women in Mexico couldn’t own land. Tho, she owns the house. So the uncle is left with his brothers land. The lawyer advises Esperanza’s mom to be careful with uncle Luis that he is a bad man and would do anything to get his way. In my mind, I am thinking… Where are the cops? Aren’t they investigating the crime?
This book will inspire your kids to think about the differences in Government. The class system in Mexico. Immigration. And moving to another country is a struggle in itself. Especially, when the move is illegal immigration.
If you visit this link, it will give you talking points to use in your class. https://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plans/esperanza-rising-learning-not-be-afraid-start-over