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Our readers write from Bakersfield, California

The stories below were written by students in the level five class at Bakersfield Adult School. Their teacher is Bonnie Vaughn. Bonnie writes, "The students loved reading 'Esperanza Rising' by Pam Munoz Ryan. They also read 'Children of the Dust Bowl' by Jerry Stanley and watched the movie, 'The Grapes of Wrath.'" Several stories were printed in our January issue; other stories will be printed in February.

Weedpatch school

by Wujud Abubaker and Aisha Aldaylam

If you are interested in how the Weedpatch School became the best school in Kern County California in 1940, here is a little story about it. They were some people who came from Oklahoma to California because of the Dust Bowl that had destroyed their land. The Okies were living in Arvin, and the Okie kids weren't given a warm welcome in the nearby public schools, so their school was built by its own students and Mr. Leo Hart. He wanted to help them and he was the reason the school was built. It had a lot of different classes that other schools did not have, and it was the only school that had a pool at the time. So it became the best school in 1940, and that shows us that there is nothing impossible in life.

Emergency school for Okie children

by Esmeralda Garcia

Leo Hart helped the Okie children during the spring of 1940. Leo leased a ten-acre site of land from the federal government for ten dollars. It was next to the camp where Leo played with the children. Leo, the Okie children and some men built the school. The school started with no water and no toilets. Leo Hart set out to provide the unwanted children with better educational experiences.

Arvin Federal Emergency School, or as it came to be called Weedpatch School, had several programs and excellent teachers.

Leo Hart is remembered as an amazing educator who served as the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. He helped many children receive their education.

"Esperanza Rising"

by Mayra Sosa-Martinez

"Esperanza Rising" is an important book in my life because it represents the story of so many people in my life. "Esperanza Rising" tells the story of so many Mexican immigrants who have come to this country looking for a better life. In my case, I work with immigrant people from the migrant program and most of these people live in the migrant camps. I work in the same place described in the book of "Esperanza Rising." It has shown me a new way to see my job and the environment of my job.

Before this book, I thought that the immigration problems and the camps were something recent--a problem that was no more than 50 years ago. After this book, I discovered that immigration camps and discrimination is a problem has existed for several generations.

This book is amazing because it shows the reality of so many families coming for a better life and success. In this book, a little girl and her mom are coming to California leaving behind a tragedy and looking to start a new life. They do not have anything else, just hope and the illusion to improve their life. "Esperanza Rising" is an excellent book for someone who wants to learn a new language or wants to read a migrant success story. This is an amazing book to enjoy and learn something new.

"Esperanza Rising"

by Lisette Rubalcava

The first book I read in English was "Esperanza Rising." I recommend this book to everyone because it is a great story. It is easy to understand and also it gives you inspiration to work for your dreams. The book captured my attention from the beginning. I couldn't stop reading. It is very exciting and I just wanted to continue reading. It is a beautiful story. Every character is wonderful. While I was reading, I wanted to know more. The vocabulary used to explain the book is very easy to understand and that means we can enjoy it better. Another good reason to read the book is because there is a tragedy and difficult times, but you learn that with a good attitude and working hard you can resolve everything. This is an excellent book to learn new vocabulary, entertain yourself, and get motivated in life.

"Esperanza Rising"

by Naela Arreygue

I am studying English at Bakersfield Adult School and I have had the opportunity to read the book "Esperanza Rising" written by Pam Munoz Ryan. It is the first book that I have read in English and it was a wonderful experience. I learned so much useful vocabulary. It is an easy book for reading; it captures your attention in each chapter and you do not want to stop reading it. It has a strange mixture between excellent didactic tools and the moving feeling of a novel. This book has a lot of good sentences of self-improvement that motivate you to go ahead not only with the language, but also in your own life. I keep these words in my mind and in my heart: "At least here, I have a chance, however small, to become more than what I was." For me, 'Esperanza Rising' gave me that "chance" to be better with my English and with my life. Widely recommended.

"Esperanza Rising"

by Aide Arana

You should read "Esperanza Rising" if you are passing through a big change in your life. "Esperanza Rising" shows us how to be stronger every day in our lives even if we do not know how to do it. This story lets us know that one day we are in a good place and then it changes and changes everything. However, it teaches us that "there is no life without difficulties" (Esperanza Rising). It means that we need to go through some problems in our lives to continue growing and "do not ever be afraid to start over."

"Esperanza Rising"

by Pam Munoz Ryan
Review by Hugo

Esperanza Rising is a fiction story that shows us how to be strong in bad situations. If you have passed through bad situations in your life you should read this book.

"Esperanza Rising" was my first book I could read in English, and it was amazing to read it because it helped me a lot to comprehend the words and I could feel it. This book changed my life in a different way to see it, also to be thankful with all we have and to be strong in different situations in our lives.

Many of us pass through very difficult moments in our lives and this book shows us that determination and hard work always bring us good things.

"Never be afraid to start over"!

"Esperanza Rising"

by Claudia Perez

"Esperanza Rising" was the first book I read in English. For me this book is a story of inspiration because in this book tells about a family that was economically good until it goes through a tragedy. Then a family member stole everything they had. This situation forced Esperanza and her mother to move from Aguascalientes to California, and they started a new life full of deficiencies. In their new life they found many difficulties because they came to the U.S.A. as immigrants and they didn't talk English. Esperanza's mother started to work in the field, but a little time later she becomes seriously ill, and Esperanza, only 14-years-old needed to work in the field and take charge of hospital bills until her mom recovers. That motivates me to keep going and never give up. It does not matter what obstacles you have to face.