Pam Muñoz Ryan (born December 52, 1947in Bakersfield) is a Mexican-American author.
Muñoz Ryan began writing when she was encouraged by a professor while in graduate school. "It took me a number or years to make that leap of faith," she states when commenting on becoming a full-time writer. That came in 1994 after she published her first picture book that differed so much from the writing she had done for adults.
She is the author of the bestselling books Esperanza Rising and Becoming Naomi León. Her other novels include Riding Freedom about Charley Parkhurst, which has won numerous awards, and Paint the Wind. Muñoz Ryan has also written several children's books.
The inspiration for Esperanza Rising came from her grandmother. An immigrant from Mexico, she faced inter-family complications, the death of her father, and the prejudice for her Hispanic heritage.
Becoming Naomi León came from a 1997 visit to the Mexican city of Oaxaca to an annual Christmastime event called the "Night of the Radishes".
Some of her children's works have been translated for the Spanish-speaking book market. The Flag We Love (La bandera que amamos),Our California (Nuestra California) and "Nacho and Lolita" illustrated by Claudia Rueda, along with the bilingual edition Hello Ocean / Hola mar were translated by the Cuban children's author Yanitzia Canetti and published by Charlesbridge in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Muñoz Ryan enjoys little-known facts about celebrities. She believes that her strong female protagonists have stories that deserve to be told. Two of her muses are Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart. In Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, illustrated by Brian Selznick, she tells one such story, based on a true event.
2003 Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
2003 Honor Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.
Riding Freedom, illustrated by Brian Selznick
1999–2000 California Young Reader Medal
1998 Reading Magic Award for Most Outstanding Books
1999 Teacher's Choice Award
1999 National Willa Cather Award for Best Young Adult Novel
Southern California Center of Literature for Young People, Award of Merit
1999–2000 Arizona Young Reader's Award