Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez

The Circuit (edition 1997)

by Francisco Jimenez

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
80214611,392 (4.13)6
Title:The Circuit
Authors:Francisco Jimenez (Author)
Info:University of New Mexico Press
Collections:Your library
Tags:Immigration, migrant workers, moving, family

Work details

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
The Circuit is a fierce and brutally honest historical fiction chapter book, by Francisco Jimenez, that intertwines the adventures of a migrant family coming from Mexico. After illegally crossing the America/Mexico border, the family escapes poverty and a poor life in Mexico in hopes to find to find a better life in California. Told in the perspective of a young boy, the story portrays the brutal realities included in the immigration camps and farms. Mostly revolving around the young boys experiences in school and learning English, the mood of the story is slightly depressing and melancholy. Once the boy and his family finally begin to adapt to their life working on a farm and going to American schools, they are suddenly deported. While the boy is reviewing his notes for an assignment in class, a man from the border patrol shows up and calls him by name. He and his brother are both picked up from school and taken back to Mexico with their family.
The theme of this book could be the concept of immigration or moving from home to home. The title of the book is appropriate because the family is constantly moving homes, sort of like a circuit. The best part of this book is the ending. While my heart absolutely dropped when I read, “This is him,” I felt the total rush of reality, as if I were in the narrators place, being deported in front of all my classmates and teacher at school. As depressing as this book is, it is extremely realistic and explores the immigrants’ lives in our nations history through the eyes of a helpless child. ( )
  EllieCoe | Oct 18, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book and thought that it was a well written account of an immigration story. One thing I liked about this novel was the development of the characters. Francisco and his older brother, Roberto, were incredibly easy to relate to and showed true character throughout the novel. My favorite characterization of Francisco was on page 26, where Francisco gives Arthur, a boy who had just beat him up, his drawing. Although Arthur was not a likeable character, Francisco chose kindness. Not only is he kind, but his determination is portrayed throughout the entire novel as he tries to help his family raise money to support them. At the very end of the book, Roberto gets a job and the reader gets very excited for him and his family. Readers are proud of his effort, but the reader soon gains more of an emotional connection with him when we learn that Border Patrol has arrived for them.

Another thing that I liked about The Circuit was how the story was so incredibly hopeful and then would wrench your heart, creating empathy towards both the situation and the characters. In the beginning, Papa’s eyes would sparkle when he thought about America and he said, “Once we cross la frontera, we’ll make a good living in California” (1). As the book continues, the family finds themselves picking cotton and living in poverty, before the boys are finally deported. The story is well written, in that the reader feels as though they are Francisco’s sibling.

The main idea of the story was to tell of the struggles that immigration brings on a family. Francisco was forced to move schools on many occasions as the family had to find new work. The family was in poverty and was struggling to make it through the day. On page 29, it says, “Even though Mama was always tired from the work she did, she made sure everything was ready for the new baby.” Despite the exhaustion that immigration brought, family was still extremely important and everyone continued to put in hard work. Along the tough journey, it’s evident that the author portrays determination and courage as other main themes. Francisco consistently registers at schools and tries to work in the cotton fields to help his family. He is both determined and courageous in this journey. ( )
  ribber1 | Oct 13, 2015 |
I liked reading The Circuit because it was told through the point of view of a child. It talked about his family’s journey, but it was all told by what he saw going on day-to-day, based on what his parent’s told him and what he observed. Having it told from a child’s perspective makes it more relatable to children reading it. Although he talks about situations that all children may not be able to relate to, he still talks about going to school, and playing outside with his siblings and friends. There was a game called kick-the-can that he played “on school days when [he] had no homework.” Many kids love to play outside and invent their own games with their friends.
I also liked how the book incorporated Spanish words into the chapters. The book starts out saying “’La frontera’ is a word I often heard when I was a child living in El Rancho Blanco.” The author then explains what la frontera is and what their journey is going to be like throughout the story.
I was very surpised by the ending of the book because it seemed like things were going well and starting to look up for the family and then all of a sudden the kids were taken out of school. I liked how the book was an autobiography so it showed what their life really was like at this time. The main message of The Circuit is that hard work and sticking together as a family is really important even in the toughest times. ( )
  KathrynRafferty | Oct 12, 2015 |
I liked the book The Circuit because of the point of view and the setting. The point of view is from a migrant child who moved from Mexico to the United States, and his description of how he is feeling allows the reader to understand the situation more. For example, Francisco writes, “Miss Scalapino started speaking to the class and I did not understand a word she was saying. The more she spoke, the more anxious I became” (p. 17-18). This allows the reader to understand how it must feel to be in a place where one cannot understand anything that is spoken because that person would be missing a lot of information on what to do, especially in a classroom setting. I also thought that the setting was very descriptive and interesting. For example, Francisco writes, “Roberto swept away the loose dirt, leaving the hard ground. Papa plugged the holes in the walls with old newspapers and tin can tops” (p. 77). This allows the readers to visualize the family’s new home through the actions of the characters. The main message of the story is that perseverance brings about improvement. Francisco’s perseverance in his academics, particularly reading English, paid off; he ended up learning the language well by the end of the book. The family also persevered from one season to the next, finding work wherever they could. ( )
  dknox5 | Oct 7, 2015 |
This novel really touched me. I loved the story of this book well as how well it was written. This novel has many themes throughout but the one that I noticed most was the theme of determination. Francisco went through a lot. He, and his family, came across the border to California to work. He was been in and out of school, running from the officers, picked cotton, strawberries, and grapes, and has been bullied. Coming from Mexico, Francisco knew no English. Being on the run and constantly moving, Francisco never stayed in the same school for the school year. Not staying with the same teacher and students really hurt his education. Students would bully him and he would not understand the teacher. However, he was determined to learn. He always stayed positive even if something bad happened. The principal gave Francisco a jacket, which happened to be another students lost jacket. That student beat up Francisco and instead of Francisco being mean right back, he ended up giving the bully his picture at the end of the day. When Francisco collected his pennies, he noticed his two favorite ones were gone. His sister took them and bought a gumball. Francisco was very mad but moved on from it. He also started making friends but realized they started leaving or he had to leave. Nothing in Francisco life came easy; however, he learned to deal with it all and to overcome his obstacles. Another part I really loved is when Francisco found out he was really learning English. His family moved again but this time they were in a house. That house ended up burning down and in the house was his notebook he would write everything he learned about in it. The house burning down and him losing his notebook was very sad but he realized he remembered everything he had learned and he did not need that notebook. Francisco was determined to learn and make his family proud. This true story showed the struggles his family had to go through but it also shows all the successes of Francisco. He was a caring, strong, brave, and bright child. ( )
  Jvoorh1 | Oct 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To my parents and my seven sisters and brothers:


Evangelina/ Yerman;

Maria Luisa/Licha;


Jose Francisco/Trampita;

Juan Manuel/Torito;

and Ruben/Carne Seca
First words
We left the station. Papa carried our dark brown suitcase. We followed behind him until we reached a barbed wire fence. According to Papa, this was la frontera. He pointed out that across the gray wire barricade was California, that famous place I'd heard so much about. On both sides of the fence were armed guards dressed in green uniforms. Papa called them la migra, and explained that we had to cross the fence to the other side without being seen by them.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0826317979, Paperback)

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 Jim�nez, 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, Jim�nez 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 agai--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.

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

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

[In this novel], intertwined stories follow a migrant 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 off four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endues. -Back cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
19 wanted5 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.13)
1 2
2 5
2.5 2
3 23
3.5 12
4 70
4.5 12
5 68


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,899,871 books! | Top bar: Always visible