Pam Muñoz Ryan

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.

Books by This Author

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

Illustrated by: Brian Selznick
Age Level: 6-9

Two well known women sneak away from the White House for an aerial adventure in this handsomely illustrated story based on real people. Though fictionalized, readers will appreciate the common interests and similar personality traits of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

Becoming Naomi León

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?

Echo: A Novel

Illustration of children in a forest
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
Language: Spanish

Product Description: Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves together three stories of young people living through a tumultuous period in the 20th century: 12-year-old Friedrich Schmidt in 1933 Germany, as the Nazi Party gains momentum; orphaned 11-year-old Mike Flannery in 1935 Philadelphia during the Depression; and Ivy Maria Lopez living in Southern California in 1942 as World War II rages. Their stories revolve around a single Hohner Marine Band harmonica and are framed by a tale of a lost boy, three sisters, and a witch's curse. Newbery Honor Book.

Esperanza Rising

Illustration of young girl floating above the hills

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 during the Great Depression. This coming-of-age novel is based on the life of the author's grandmother.

Mañanaland

Mañanaland

Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow. If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he'd make Santa Maria's celebrated fútbol team and whether he'd ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won't talk.

Mice and Beans

Illustration of mice cooking in the kitchen
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

As Rosa Maria prepares for the family celebration of her granddaughter’s birthday, she gets unexpected help from the mice who live in the house. Spanish words are integrated into the joyful text and reflected in the energetic, vibrant illustrations.

Our California

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 3-6

Visit some of the most special places in California, from the big (San Francisco) to the small (San Juan Capistrano) and everything in between! Vibrant and whimsical illustrations from Rafael López create a vivid impression of how a child might remember California's unforgettable natural and man-made wonders.

Riding Freedom

Illustrated by: Brian Selznick
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

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.

Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs

Monarchs flying around young girl

Ever since Solimar was a little girl, she has gone to the ouamel forest bordering her kingdom to observe the monarch butterflies during their migration, but always from a safe distance. Now, on the brink of her quinceañera and her official coronation, Solimar crosses the dangerous creek to sit among the butterflies. There, a mysterious event gives her a gift and a burden — the responsibility to protect the young and weak butterflies with her magical rebozo, or silk shawl. Solimar is committed to fulfilling her role, and has a plan that might have worked.

The Flag We Love

Illustrated by: Ralph Masiello
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish

Read this book aloud to young readers to teach them about the United States flag, its history, and meaning. The short verse, historical tidbits, and realistic illustrations result in a brief, moving, and patriotic look at this American symbol. Spanish version available.

Pages

Anthologies and Collections

Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories

Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

For young readers who have ever wanted, known or loved a dog, the short stories in this anthology evoke the full spectrum of endearing doggy traits! With stories ordered from easiest to most difficult to read, Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories is a book for young readers of varying levels to enjoy.