Pam Munoz RyanPam Muñoz Ryan is an American author. She is half Mexican with Basque, Italian, and Oklahoman cultural influences. She has written over forty books for young people—picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels. She the author recipient of the NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the Ludington Award for body of work. Her novel, Esperanza Rising, was commissioned as a play by the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre and has been performed in many venues around the U.S. including The Goodman in Chicago, and the Majestic Cutler Theater, in Boston.


Born Pamela Jeanne Banducci in Bakersfield, California, on December 25, 1951, her last name was changed before she attended school to match the name of her parents, Hope Bell and the man she considered her real father, Donald Bell. As Pamela Bell, she attended McKinley Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Washington Jr. High, Bakersfield High School, and Bakersfield Community College. She then attended San Diego State University where she received a bachelor’s degree. She married James Ryan in 1975. An early childhood teacher, she worked for the Escondido, California, school district for three years before starting her family. After her four children were born, she became the director of an early childhood program and went back to school to get her master’s degree in Post-secondary Education with the intention of teaching Children’s Literature in college. When she finished her graduate program, she became interested in writing, and at the encouragement of her agent, Kendra Marcus, included her family name , Muñoz, to her signature, to reflect her Mexican heritage.



2016 Newbery Honor

2016 Odyssey Honor

2015 Kirkus Prize

2016 Américas Award

2015 New York Historical Society Book Prize

2015 NAPPA Gold Award

2016 Audie Award

Booksource Scout Award


2011 Pen USA Award

2011 Pura Belpré Medal

2011 Américas Award

2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor

Scelte di Class Prize-Italy

2011  Nautilus Book Award

Carla Cohen Free Speech Award

2010 NAPPA Gold Award

2012 Premio Letteratura Ragazzi-Italy – Il Sognatore

Deutscher Jugendliteraturapreis-Germany-Der Traumer


2006 Pura Belpré Honor Medal

2005 ALA Schneider Family Book Award

2005 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award

Américas Award Commended


2002 Pura Belpré Medal

2001 Jane Addams Award

2001 The Willa Cather Award

2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist

2001 Southern California Judy Lopez Award

2001 Arizona Young Adult Book Award


2000 California Young Reader Medal

2000 Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award

2000 Arkansas Simon Young Reader Honor

1998 Parenting Magazine’s Reading Magic Award

WHEN MARIAN SANG, illustrated by Brian Selznick

2003 Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

2003 Sibert Medal Honor

2004 Norman Sugarman Award for Distinguished Biography

2003 Flora Stieglitz Straus Award-Bank Street College