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Reaching Out


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*Starred Review* Papa's raging depression intensifies young Jiménez's personal guilt and conflict in the 1960s: "So now you think you're us because you are going to college!" He is the first in his Mexican American migrant family to attend college in California. While at home, the family struggles with backbreaking work and lives without indoor plumbing; in college, Jiménez finds friends and mentors in class and at church, discovers the great literature in his native Spanish language, and joins César Chávez in the drive to unionise farm workers. Like his other fictionalised autobiographies, The Circuit (1997) and Breaking Through (2001), this sequel tells Jiménez's personal story in self-contained chapters that join together in a stirring narrative. As he works many jobs to send something home, he is haunted by memories of his childhood spent labouring in the fields, and in college, he tells no one that he was born in Mexico and is not an American citizen. Rooted in the past, Jiménez's story is also about the continuing struggle to make it in America, not only for immigrant kids but also for those in poor families. Never melodramatic or self-important, the spare episodes will draw readers with the quiet daily detail of work, anger, sorrow, and hope. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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