Told through a series of vignettes, Esperanza Cordero narrates her life growing up as a Latina girl in a Chicago neighborhood, and her desire to grow up and leave.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In "Little Things are Big," Jesús Colón, a Puerto Rican writer of African descent, describes an interaction with a white woman that changed his point of view.
In “Fish Cheeks,” which is about a Chinese American girl who feels embarrassed by her family during dinner, Tan explores how culture can be essential to a person’s identity.
In Sandra Cisneros’ poem “Abuelito Who,” the speaker describes the changing relationship with their aging grandfather.
In Tupac Shakur’s “The Rose That Grew from Concrete,” the speaker describes a flower that grew in an unlikely place.
Malala Yousafzai (born 1997) is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is from the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban has banned girls from attending school. Malala, whose family ran a chain of local schools, publicly stood against the Taliban’s actions and launched an international movement, surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban on October 9th, 2012. The article discusses this incredible young woman and her continuing advocation for universal women’s education.
In Daniel Beaty’s poem “Knock Knock,” the speaker describes his relationship with his father and how he is impacted by his eventual absence.
Billy Collins (b. 1941) is an award-winning American poet who writes about everyday occurrences to express the deeper meaning of life. In this poem, the speaker reflects on his youth with longing.
A physician who overcame a difficult upbringing meditates on the nature of his career and the relationship between medicine and public service.