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The Circuit Hardcover – October 25, 1999


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The Circuit + Breaking Through + Reaching Out
Price for all three: $25.71

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395979021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395979020
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Francisco Jimenez was born in Mexico, entered California illegally as a very young child, and spent his boyhood alternating between migrant farm work and the classroom. This collection of autobiographical short stories was written years later, when Jimenez had become an established professor at Santa Clara University (CA), but they give immediate access to the feelings of the growing boy. Adrian Vargas reads in a lightly accented English, offering a voice that is evidently that of the full grown man remembering, rather than that of the youth he remembers. Each story is simple, direct, and redolent with the smells of the earth, the sounds of the ever-changing home with its growing number of siblings, and the amazing experiences each new schoolroom offers. The frustrations range from those specific to poverty and migrancy, including the inability to follow up on promises made by a good teacher because the family moves on the day the offer of trumpet lessons has been proffered, through the universal experience of an older brother saddled with an ignorant younger sibling who insensitively feeds his prized penny collection into the grocery store's gumball machine. Jimenez and Vargas both maintain a leisurely pace appropriate to storytelling that can reach a wide audience, giving the images constructed from words time to bloom in the audience's mind before wrapping each tale in a tight, often surprising, close. Highly recommended for both pleasure listening and for classroom use and discussion.

Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

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

More About 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

Customer Reviews

Great insight into the immigrant life.
JC
The short surprises keep the this book interesting and good to read.
LALA
This book should be mandatory for students in Jr or High school.
Mari

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book that is suitable for all ages. Jimenez manages to describe his childhood in a manner that captivates the reader. I could not put the book down once I began reading. Do not think that just because these events happened long ago,that migrant families do not experience some of the same horrors today, for they do. I teach ESL to adult migrant workers and after reading this book I have an even greater respect for these hard working individuals. The farms and ranches of California could not exist as they do today without migrants who do the back breaking work in the fields. Most evenings at class my students (both men and women) come in directly from the fields, their eyes bloodshot, their hands rough and calloused, their backs bowed over. But they come eager to learn English so they can get a better job, or so they can help their children have a better education. An admirable people and Jimenez's book provides insight into their difficult working and living conditions.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought The Circuit because I am working with the children of Mexican migrant families this summer. As I read, I imagined the kids in my class experiencing the difficulties described by Jimenez, especially the poor living conditions. Yet the stories are not written as complaints. The hopeful spirit of the struggling family members really comes through, and moved me to tears more than once. Reading The Circuit has helped me to better understand and appreciate my young migrant friends. I'm passing my copy around so that my friends and family can see why I care about those kids so much!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
The short stories in this collection bear
compelling witness to the strength and
vitality of the human spirit under the most
inhumane circumstances. This inspiring
tribute to the humanity of poor migrant
workers tells the right story at the right
time in this country, when immigrants,
documented or not, are shamelessly
scapegoated by politicians of every stripe.
The powerful impact of these deceptively
simple stories may be credited to their
autobiographical character, the purity of
the prose, and the strength of the images.
In reading this book you will experience the
untapped wealth of humanity that works our
fields, sews our clothes, waits our tables.
You will also be completely engaged by twelve
wonderful stories.
For me, Dr. Jimenez' "Christmas Gift" tops
O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi" for the best
Christmas story ever -- and it's the perfect
size for a stocking stuffer!
Steve Privett,S.J.[SPrivett@mailer.scu.edu] Santa Clara, California
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Mack on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a great place to start if you are interested in learning about the life of someone less priviledged than yourself. Perhaps it will help you appreciate the simple pleasures in life and everything that you've got. When you reach the end of the book, you'll be glad Jimenez wrote a sequel (Breaking Through).

Written in a language that is accessible to everyone from grade school to adulthood, Jimenez doesn't exaggerate details or go into a lot of long desriptions. It's simply his memories of his childhood in a migrant family. As all memories go, the book does not flow smoothly from chapter to chapter, but rather gives you snapshots of his life, so take it for what it is and don't worry about the chronology.

As a teacher, this book really helped me appreciate the lives and struggles of many of my students (who lead lives similar to Jimenez in his childhood).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By H.S. Cross on December 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
A collection of interrelated stories based on the author's experience as an illegal immigrant from Mexico in the late 1940s, working with his family as a migrant laborer. Exposes hardships without being didactic. Ambiguous. Makes me feel what it would be like to be poor in a country where I didn't speak the language. A nice companion to books like Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry or Out of the Dust. Ages 10+
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roberto A on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Circuit, one of my favorite books, is written by Francisco Jimenez. The Circuit is about a family that lived in El Rancho Blanco, Guadalajara. Francisco and his family moved to the United States crossing the border illegally. When they get to the United States in California they look for work and they work in the fields picking cotton. Francisco's family is always hiding from the border patrol which they call it "la migra." As they go on they move to different places. The reason I read this story is because it held my interest , because I wondered how it would be crossing the border illegally. Also, because some of the story reminds me about when I got here from Mexico. I really recommend this book. It's exciting and it taught me to eat all my food and not throw it away because Francisco's family did't have anything to eat sometimes. I would give this book a ten, and I really loved it a lot and I think you should try it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Z. Holmboe on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Francisco Jimenez doesn't preach, he doesn't tell, he doesn't demand that you change your views about the migrant population in the US; he does tell a story of a migrant family with more tenderness than I have read anywhere. He doesn't rely on dramatic anecdotes to relay his point, but rather allows the realistic simplicity of the stories to speak for themselves. Doing so makes the stories all the more meaninful, as the reader never feels like he is being told exagerated accounts of a migrant child's life.
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