“Too many children in the U.S. have never seen their lives in print, nor have they ever been told their story is extraordinary, nor that they themselves are courageous. I thank Francisco Jiménez for honoring all brave children who grow up poor in America.” — Sandra Cisneros
From the acclaimed author Francisco Jiménez comes a new book, Reaching Out. Absorbing, tender, and honest, this sequel to the award-winning books The Circuit and Breaking Through follows a migrant teen’s journey from high school through college.
Leaving his home in Bonetti Ranch, a migrant community of dilapidated army barracks with no indoor plumbing or drinkable water, Francisco Jiménez sets off for college. He leaves behind a family struggling to pay for food and rent and a desperate, broken father. Carrying memories of years of poverty and prejudice with him, he enters a world culturally different from his own, and one in which he struggles not only with self-doubt about succeeding academically but also with finding work to send enough money home.
Yet as he types other student’s papers in exchange for clothing, as he studies hard, as he meets with unexpected kindness, he uses those very memories of struggle and his family’s values to see his way forward.
In “A Note from the Author,” he writes: “I wrote Reaching Out in part to describe the experiences of many students who are the first in their families to attend college, and to pay tribute to teachers who reach out and make a difference in the lives of their students by assisting them to be knowledgeable of self, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, and generous and responsive to social and civic obligations in an ever-changing world.”
Life as the Child of a Migrant Farmworker
- The high-school graduation rate among migrant teenagers is only 50.7%. The need to have them contribute to family income makes school attendance difficult.
- Nevertheless, education is valued. Often farmworkers attend English language classes at the end of the long workday. Many families have made tremendous sacrifices to see that their children receive an education.
Source: BOCES Geneseo website (http://www.migrant.net/migrant/farmworker.htm)
- Human Rights Watch estimates that the number of children working in agriculture ranges from 300,000 (The General Accounting Office) to 800,000 (United Farm Workers union).
- The minimum employment age for non-agricultural work is 14. Child farm laborers can also work longer hours. Children who are 14 or older can work unlimited hours in the fields before or after school.
- The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs has found that half the youth who regularly perform farm work never graduate from high school. Many children . . . leave school early and return late each year due to their family’s work migration. In addition, recent estimates suggest that children who work in agriculture average 30 hours of labor per week—often during the school year.
Source: NOW website (PBS; see at http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/migrantchildren.html)
Francisco Jiménez’s honest words will open readers’ hearts and minds. His experiences detail, with dignity and honesty, the daily struggles faced by so many young people. Readers will embrace Jiménez as they follow his compelling story, celebrating his triumph and aching over his hardships.
Francisco Jiménez emigrated from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, to California, where he worked for many years in the fields with his family. He received his B.A. from Santa Clara University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Columbia University under a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. He is currently the Fay Boyle Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Santa Clara University. Francisco Jiménez has published and edited several books on Mexican and Mexican American literature, and his stories have been published in more than one hundred textbooks and anthologies of literature. He was also selected as the U.S. Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2002. Mr. Jiménez lives in Santa Clara, California, with his family.