All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Pam Muñoz Ryan

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Bio

Pam Muñoz Ryan was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1951. With half of her family from Mexico and the other half from Oklahoma, Muñoz Ryan jokes that she grew up eating enchiladas one weekend and fried chicken the next. She was the oldest of 23 grandchildren on her mother's side.

Pam Muñoz Ryan studied child development at San Diego State University before working as a bilingual Head Start teacher, full-time mom, and early childhood program administrator. After earning a graduate degree in education, Muñoz Ryan began her new career as a writer. At first, she wrote books about child development for adults. Soon though, she started writing books for children. After publishing a number of picture books, Muñoz Ryan discovered that she was a talented novelist as well. Esperanza Rising, perhaps her most well known novel, won the Pura Belpre Medal in 2000.

Today Pam Muñoz Ryan writes full time and lives with her husband just north of San Diego.

Selected Books

from Pam Muñoz Ryan


Esperanza Rising

Age Level: 9-12

Instead of celebrating her 13th birthday in her prosperous Mexican home as she expected, Esperanza must adjust to the murder of her father, the loss of her house and wealth, and her new life as a farm worker in California. This readable coming-of-age novel is based on the life of the author's grandmother.

Buy Esperanza Rising


Becoming Naomi León

Age Level: 9-12

Naomi and her younger brother Owen have lived with their grandmother in a small trailer for many years, ever since they were abandoned by their mother. When Mom Terri Lynn suddenly returns, does she really have the kids' best interests at heart?

Buy Becoming Naomi León


Riding Freedom

Age Level: 9-12

Charlotte Parkhurst could do almost anything with horses. Once out of the orphanage, Charlotte masquerades successfully as a man named Charley, and in spite of huge obstacles is able to drive a stagecoach and work with horses. Based on a real person, Charley also became the first woman to cast her vote in the state of California.

Buy Riding Freedom


The Dreamer

Age Level: 9-12

This imaginative account of poet Pablo Neruda's childhood in Chile combines biography, poetry, literary fiction, and magical realism.

Buy The Dreamer


The Dreamer

Age Level: 9-12

Young Neftali cannot resist the power of words and the world around him. Whether he is studying the iridescent wings of beetle or imagining the story of a lone boot left in the mud, there is no limit to where his imagination and words will take him. Neftali grows up to become one of the world's most beloved poets: Chile's Nobel-winning laureate Pablo Neruda. Through this stunning novel, Pam Muñoz Ryan imagines poet's childhood and triumph in overcoming a tyrannical father to believe in his own voice and words.

Buy The Dreamer