Sample text for Breaking through / Francisco Jim‚enez.

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Copyrighted sample text provided by the publisher and used with permission. May be incomplete or contain other coding.

Counter 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

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Mexican Americans Juvenile fiction, Mexican Americans Fiction, Agricultural laborers Fiction, California Fiction