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Esperanza rising, p.16
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       Esperanza Rising, p.16

           Pam Muñoz Ryan
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  I picked up the partially carved duck and my knife from the pile of slippery shavings in the bottom of the bowl. I had already finished two other ducks, each a little smaller than the other, but I wanted a third for the shelf above the kitchen sink. I was never content to carve one of anything, preferring at least two or three for a companionship of lions or a circle of bears. I pulled the knife across the bar of Nature’s Pure White. The soap sloughed off easy into the bowl, looking like shredded white cheese. I scraped in an arc, finishing off the curve of the back and up to the tail. The dry film on my hands felt like a thin glove, and every few minutes I put my palms up to my nose to take a whiff of a smell that reminded me of being a baby.

  “Done with spelling!” said Owen, closing his books. He came over and stood next to me, watching. “Naomi, how do you know what to carve?”

  “I imagine what’s inside and take away what I don’t need,” I said, not looking up. Slowly, I added the finishing touches on the duckling, scratching out the appearance of feathers with the pointy end of the knife. I loved this part of carving, the etching and the grooves that made the figure look true to life. I was getting ready to level the bottom, so it would sit flat and not wobble on the shelf, but I didn’t get one more pull of the blade before someone knocked on our door.

  Mexican proverbs on page ix from Mexican Sayings: The Treasure of a People

  by Octavio A.Ballesteros and Maria del Carmen Ballesteros. Reprinted courtesy of Eakin Press.

  Copyright © 2000 by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

  All rights reserved.

  Published by Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, APPLE PAPERBACKS, AFTER WORDS, and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc.

  This edition first printing, June 2007

  Illustrations by Joe Cepeda • Book design by Marijka Kostiw

  Cover art © 2000 by Joe Cepeda

  Cover design by Marijka Kostiw

  e-ISBN 978-0-545-53234-1

  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, write to Scholastic Inc., Attention: Permissions Department, 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.



  Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising



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