Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades
Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3 Workshop 4 Workshop 5 Workshop 6 Workshop 7 Workshop 8
Workshop 7: Social Justice and Action - Alma Flor Ada, Pam Munoz, and Paul Yee
Authors and Literary Works
Alma Flor Ada
Pam Munoz Ryan
Paul Yee
Key References
Video Summary
Teaching Strategies
Student Work
Interactive Workbook -- Explore two poems using strategies from these workshops. Go.
Channel-Talk -- Share your views on the discussion board. Go.

Authors and Literary Works

Pam Muñoz Ryan has written more than 25 books for children, including works of fiction, nonfiction, and picture books for every age from toddler to teenager. She has won many awards, including the national Willa Cather Award and the California Young Reader Medal. "I write about dreams, discoveries, and daring women. I write short stories about hard times, picture books about mice and beans, and novels about journeys," she says. "That's part of the enchantment of writing and creating characters -- the variety!"

Born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California amid a large extended family, Muñoz Ryan considers her background an "ethnic smorgasbord" -- she is a mix of Spanish, Mexican, Basque, Italian, and Oklahoman. During the long, hot summers of her youth, she found relief in the air-conditioned local library. She credits these visits with kindling her interest in books and reading. Muñoz Ryan's devotion to books persisted through her college years, so she decided on a career in teaching, and later went on to be an administrator. When a colleague asked for help writing a book, she says, "That's when I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life."

The young adult novel Esperanza Rising is a story that is deeply connected to Muñoz Ryan's life. As she explains in the author's note that ends the book, Esperanza's experiences are very much based on the life of her grandmother, who also grew up wealthy in Mexico until a series of circumstances forced her to come to America to work at a company-owned farm labor camp in California. Like Esperanza, she lived through the effects of the Mexican Deportation Act. Yet, Muñoz Ryan writes, "My family's feelings for the company camp are deep-rooted and still filled with loyalty for their start in this country and for the jobs they had at a time when so many had none."

Muñoz Ryan calls her grandmother a "survivor," and says, "Our accomplishments were her accomplishments." Muñoz Ryan is proud that all of her grandmother's grandchildren learned English, and most went to college. "It is no wonder," she writes, "that in Spanish, esperanza means 'hope.'"

Pam Muñoz Ryan is a graduate of San Diego State University, where she also earned a master's degree.

back to top Next: Pam Muñoz Ryan: Work

Workshop Home Support Materials About this Workshop Sitemap
Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades Workshop Home

© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy