At the age of fourteen, Francisco Jimenez, together with his older brother Roberto and his mother, are caught by la migra. Forced to leave their home, the entire family travels all night for twenty hours by bus, arriving at the U.S. and Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. In the months and years that follow, Francisco, his mother and father, and his seven brothers and sister not only struggle to keep their family together, but also face crushing poverty, long hours of labor, and blatant prejudice. How they sustain their hope, their goodheartedness, and tenacity is revealed in this moving sequel to The Circuit. Without bitterness or sentimentality, Francisco Jimenez finishes telling the story of his youth.
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Professor, College of Education Temple University Dr. Michael Smith joined the ranks of college teachers after eleven years of teaching high school English. He has won awards for his teaching at both the high school and college levels. His research focuses on how experienced readers read and talk about texts, as well as what motivates adolescents' reading and writing both in and out of school. He has written eight books and monographs, including "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys": Literacy in the Lives of Young Men, for which he and his co-author received the 2003 David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English. His writing has appeared in such journals as Communication Education, English Journal, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Journal of Educational Research, Journal of Literacy Research, and Research in the Teaching of English.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Jiménez' autobiographical story The Circuit (1997) broke new ground with its drama of a Mexican American migrant child in southern California. It won many prizes and was a Booklist Editors' Choice. This moving sequel is a fictionalized memoir of Jimenez's teenage years in the late 1950s, when the family finally stayed in one place and Francisco and his brothers worked long hours before and after school to put food on the table. First they picked strawberries in the fields. Later the jobs got better: cleaning offices, washing windows and walls, waxing floors. The prose here is not as taut as in the first book, but Jimenez writes with simplicity about a harsh world seldom seen in children's books. He also writes about a scary, sad, furious, and broken father--like the father in Na's A Step from Heaven [BKL Je 1 & 15 01]. He stays true to the viewpoint of a teenager growing up poor: the yearning (What would it be like to live in a house, rather than the crowded barracks?); the ignorance (College?); the hurt of prejudice. Yet he celebrates his Mexican roots even as he learns to be an American. The images are powerful, especially the one of the boy cleaning offices before dawn, with notes of English words to memorize in his shirt pocket. An excellent choice for ESL classes, this is a book for many readers, who may discover an America they didn't know was here.
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