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The Circuit

The Circuit

by Francisco Jimenez

After dark in a Mexican border town, a father holds open a hole in a wire fence as his wife and two small boys crawl through.

So begins life in the United States for many people every day. And so begins this collection of twelve autobiographical stories by Santa Clara University professor Francisco Jimenez, who at the age of four illegally crossed the border with his family in 1947.

"The Circuit," the story of young Panchito and his trumpet, is one of the most widely anthologized stories in Chicano literature. At long last, Jimenez offers more about the wise, sensitive little boy who has grown into a role model for subsequent generations of immigrants.

These independent but intertwined stories follow the family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots and back again over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family of four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endures.

Praise for The Circuit

"A jewel of a book." — Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

"These stories are so realistic they choke the heart." — Rudolfo Anaya

11, 12, 13
Interest Level
Grades 6 - 8
Grade Level Equivalent
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading
Houghton Mifflin Company
Number of Pages
Autobiography, Biography and Autobiography, Short Stories

About the Author

Francisco Jimenez Long a writer of academic works for adults, Francisco Jimenez's entry into writing for young people came through an award-winning short story, The Circuit, based on his childhood. In 1997, Jimenez combined the story with others into the autobiographical volume The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, which won numerous awards, including the Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature.

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