Breaking Through, the sequel to The Circuit, is autobiographical. It spans crucial years of my young adult life, beginning with the deportation of my family and me back to Mexico. Relying heavily on memory, I selected those meaningful events and experiences in my life that built up to an integrated pattern. I recounted them in chronological order from the perspective of the teenager I was then. I made use of my powers of imagination and invention to fill in small details that I have forgotten with the passage of time. For example, when I could not remember exact words of some conversations, I created dialogue, and I added description to capture my impressions and reactions to particular events and experiences.

In addition to relying on the power of memory, I used other valuable resources to write my book. I interviewed family members and looked through family photographs and documents, including deportation papers, which I obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. I also made use of my junior high and high school records and read through The Breeze, the Santa Maria High School newspaper, and the Santa Maria Times. I also visited the Santa Maria Historical Museum.

I wrote this sequel to pay tribute to my family and teachers and to document part of my own history, but, more importantly, to voice the experiences of many children and young adults who confront numerous obstacles in their efforts to "break through . . . and become butterflies." How they manage to break through depends as much on their courage, hope, and God-given talents as it does on the loving, compassionate, and generous people who commit themselves to making a difference in the lives of children and young adults.


From Breaking Through, written by Francisco Jimenez, Reproduced by permission from Houghton Mifflin Company, © 2001. All Rights Reserved.