Esperanza Rising was published in 2000. It is the fictional story of Esperanza Ortega, a privileged girl growing up in Mexico on her family's farm. However, her life is shattered when her father is murdered. Esperanza must leave behind her family’s wealth and social status when she and her mother move to the United States in search of a better life. This young adult novel is loosely inspired by Pam Muñoz Ryan's own childhood, as she also grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley. It is Muñoz Ryan’s best known novel and has won numerous awards including the Pura Belpré Award and the Jana Addams Children’s Book Award. It is one of ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year, and it was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.