The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child

4.1 46
by Francisco Jimenez, Jimenez
     
 

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Francisco Jimenez immigrated with his family to California from Tlaquepaque, Mexico. As a child he worked in the fields of California, and the stories in The Circuit are largely autobiographical, as is his first picture book, La Mariposa. He received both his master's degree and Ph.D. at Columbia University and is now chairman of the Modern Language Department at

Overview

Francisco Jimenez immigrated with his family to California from Tlaquepaque, Mexico. As a child he worked in the fields of California, and the stories in The Circuit are largely autobiographical, as is his first picture book, La Mariposa. He received both his master's degree and Ph.D. at Columbia University and is now chairman of the Modern Language Department at Santa Clara University. He lives in Santa Clara, California, with his wife and three children.

Editorial Reviews

Julie Landsman
The stories in this book build on each other beautifully. . . Without sentimentality or melodrama, but rather with the simple power and grace of a fine storyteller, Jimenez is able to convince us of the narrator's authenticity, his good-heartedness, and the good-heartedness of his family. . . This book challenges us as readers, whether eleven or fifty. . . In The Circuit, Jimenez has taken us inside a way of life, in all its sweetness and all its sorrow. It is a valuable book for young people, both for its artistic value and for the issues it illuminates. -- Riverbank Review
MultiCultural Review
. . . [a] moving book . . . The Circuit beautifully captures the rhythms of everyday life and the dreams and aspirations of a migrant family. Jiménez writes credibly in the voice of his young protagonist. Pancho is a compelling and memorable character, at the emotional center of a book that will appeal to both adult and teenage readers.
Booklist
Jiménez's exquisite autobiographical short story ‘The Circuit' is widely anthologized. . . . Like Steinbeck's classic Grapes of Wrath, Jiménez's stories combine stark social realism with heartrending personal drama.
New Mexico Magazine
There are moments of wonder . . . Francisco Jiménez is a master craftsman of words, with a simple yet crystalline style . . . The Circuit speaks intimately of migrant life in the western United States—a life that might be known by its politics or sociology but here is given a human face.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Steinbeck told this story from the point of view of the Okies and the Great Depression. This is the next generation of laborers, and Jiménez tells his own story well through small incidents--the ever-growing family; the cotton rash from a young boy's first attempts at picking the merciless pods; and the refusal of most teachers to integrate Spanish speakers into the classroom. It was a tough life in the late forties and early fifties. The struggle stills goes on, and youngsters would do well to learn about it-and to know that Jiménez himself pulled himself out of "the circuit" to reach that American dream. Houghton Mifflin's hardback version of Jiménez's stories comes after the fact of honors already received. It's a handsome little book of memoirs describing the day to day life of a Mexican family reaching for the American good life through the only means possible to them--hard labor picking California's year-round crops.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Wendy Gelsanliter's pleasant album features ten original songs and four adapted traditional songs. The traditional songs include "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night," "Head and Shoulders," "Missy Mind Your Manners," and "Lazy Bones" (adapted from the spiritual, "Dem Dry Bones"). Among the original tunes are: a song about an "Itty Bitty Kitty in New York City" who clears the streets of rats; "Ants Wear Underpants," about dancing ants; "Lost and Found," about a child lost in a store; an ode to insects called "Butterfly Fly;" and the kidnapping of the alphabet by the outlaw letters "LMNOP." A gentle folk song style is used for most of the songs, with guitars and percussion as the primary background instrumentation. "The Morning Song" has a taste of calypso; "Pajamason" is an upbeat jazz song; and "LMNOP" has a minor country-western tune. Children will enjoy Gelsanliter's pleasant alto voice and singing along with these child-friendly tunes.-Beverly Bixler, San Antonio Public Library, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Readers of this book will gain insight into...the lives of immigrant families." Book Links November 2007 Book Links, ALA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826317971
Publisher:
University of New Mexico Press
Publication date:
10/28/1997
Pages:
146
Sales rank:
30,910
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Readers of this book will gain insight into...the lives of immigrant families." Book Links November 2007 Book Links, ALA

Meet the Author

Francisco Jiménez emigrated from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, to California, where he worked for many years in the fields with his family. He received both his master's degree and his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is now chairman of the Modern Languages and Literature Department at Santa Clara University, the setting of much of Reaching Out. He is the award-winning author of The Circuit, Breaking Through, La Mariposa, and his newest novel, Reaching Out. He lives in Santa Clara, California, with his family.

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Circuit 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is 90 pages long, but the story itself is about 75 pages of that. I paid $1.99 for this. The book was very good, up until the end. Then it just stops. It was like hitting a concrete block wall, going 80 mph. There are at least three more books in this series. The next two are $5.99 plus tax each. I will not be purchasing them. I would nothave purchased this one, if someone had said how many pages it had, it was a cliffhanger and it is first person. This book is told over several years by an illeagal, migrant worker, from Mexico. It was interesting and is based on the author's life, but it is a work of fiction. It is a good, clean read. Just not much to it. It took me less than an hour and a half to read it. I feel ripped off. AD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Circuit was an enjoyable, easy to read book because each story was it's own chapter. I liked hearing about how life was for Francisco growing up as a migrant child in the United States. I think the author was really good at describing what it was like to be living and working as a migrant family. He was also able to make me feel like I could see and experience all of the details of things he was describing; like working on the plantations, the different scenes and places and the feelings and emotions of all the characters in the stories. The author used both English and Spanish in the book, which I liked because I learned some new words and had a better feel for the culture and customs of the family. The family had many challenges and hard times but they always worked together as a family and supported each other. I am not so sure I would be able to work as hard as they did just to keep food on the table. I would recommend this book to people to read so everyone could realize how hard some people have to work to get the things other people take for granted.
EzekielR More than 1 year ago
The Circuit an excellent story! i think this a very good story for immigrants that want a better life and education for their children. For immigrants family that need jobs and a house to live. The ending its very sad and fustrated. -Demmie Garcia
Mary_M More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to people of all ages. I recommend it because he tells about the determination and work ethic that Mexican immigrants displayed. The Circuit reminds us that migrant workers lose friends when they move. It reminds us that friendship is important and we should value it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little boy named Francisco has to live a hard life. Francisco and his family live in poverty and do not have a life long job. They work in the fields and pick cotten. When the cotten season is over they move to a new placc e to do more work for other people. They face many stugges along the way. They are afraid that they will not be able to aford anything to keep the family togather. We have an easy life compared to those who have to have to live through poverty everyday of their life. I would recomend this book to anyone who has to face the stuggels of moving to a new place all the time.
Inspire_Belief More than 1 year ago
I am a principal of a school where 92 percent of the students live in poverty. A large number of children in my school are migrant, asylee or refugee children. I chose to read this book as a way to reflect on "my" children's stories. I believe we are better educators when we try to understand our students' lives. The stories in this book reminded me of the challenges and obstacles my kids face. I enjoyed this book. I didn't like the ending (not the author's fault.. I just wanted to know what happened!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is good and interesting athough it ends in a cliff hanger! I do not like this because i had to read the book for school. It is very short, only takes a couple of hours to read. Almost every chapter has a long time difference to the previous one and it gets confusing sometimes. Good Book.
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I love this book.Read it in a couple of hours.MUST READ!!
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The 12 stories you read in this book are just truly inspiring. Each short story is a major chapter of his childhood as a migrant worker. Jimenez grasped my attention in the start of the book, and never let go. The story is mainly about his family leaving Mexico and going to the United States for a better life. He describes his several struggles in each of the stories. These struggles are sad but inspirational. This story shows Francisco's emotions, and it shows his family's too. After Ii finished each short story of the book, I felt that I understood how life of a migrant worker is, and also learned more about the narrator. I somewhat experienced Jimenez's feeling, such as the heat working on the fields, or his fear when border control came and raided the camps for any illegal immigrants. I liked this book for many reasons. There was a message that I received from reading it. There are others who are misfortunate than you and you should cherish not just material goods but your family. Another reason I liked this book is because Jimenez did an excellent job in describing each of the characters emotions as if he were them. This book was also pleasing to me because of the descriptions of the places. Each time the author described their current location whether at a plantation or in the family car I really visualized the scenes. I even could smell the out side air and feel the heat on my back as his dad, brother, and him worked to earn money for the family. One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book was because the author incorporated English and Spanish words into the book. I learned some Spanish words. Overall this was a suspense filled story and it was very hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
reviewdemswatkins More than 1 year ago
Author Francisco Jimenez writes individual stories in the form of chapters in this book about his life growing up in a family of Mexican migrant workers. As a young child, his family comes from Mexico to California in the search for a better life and their American dream. Jimenez moves to California with his Mother, Father, and Brother Roberto. The family moves around to different towns within California looking for work picking cotton, strawberries and topping carrots. Francisco Jimenez could not work with his family when he was too young so he would sit in their truck and wait for them. Their truck was important to them because it was what got them to and from work everyday, and the family could not afford to ever miss a day of work. As Francisco's life progresses, his mother keeps having more and more children until their struggling family of 4 living in small tents and garages climbs to a family of 8 people. Young Francisco Jimenez has no friends because his father is always moving the family from town to town looking for in-season farm work. Whenever he finds a friend whether it be the neighbors fish, his pet bird, a teacher, or even a boy from school, that friend is taken away. The Jimenez family works hard in the fields, and at times are only being paid one and a half cents for picking cotton. The family is used to moving and don't have many belongings. The family sleeps on one mattress that they put on the floor wherever they are living and they have their meals made for the day every morning by Mrs. Jimenez on her one frying pan. The young children had no form of entertainment accept for playing kick the can, guessing games or telling ghost stories. The family struggles further with the sickness of their baby Panchito at one point. When the family finally lives in a house while they were working at the fields in Corcoran, the house burns down along with some personal belongings. In the fire Francisco looses his pocket notebook where he kept all of the english words he wanted to remember. Also on that day his little sister took his penny collection and bought candies with them. Francisco's place of relief from work was at school. He loved going to school and getting an education. He dreaded every summer, knowing that he would be away from school and working in the fields along side his father and brother. The Jimenez family continues in their streak of bad luck all the way up until the final page of the book. I enjoyed reading this book about the continuous misfortunes of Francisco Jimenez's life. The book is a very easy read and doesn't have confusing words or long sentences. The book has Spanish words and sentences scattered in it, but you can figure out what they mean with the context clues in the previous or following sentences. The stories that Jimenez tells are real and he does not baby the reader. He makes you think about the stories and how they pertain to real life. This book makes you reflect and think about how many of the things that he and his family experienced still happen today. I enjoyed how each chapter would connect in the overall point he was trying to make, but where individual short stories of his life. The hardships that Jimenez and his family went through were so powerful and moving to read. I would recommend this book because touches on important subjects in our world today. Though this book is not action packed, you cannot guess what misfortune will happen next to the family.