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La Mariposa

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  145 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
In his first year of school, Francisco understands little of what his teacher says. But he is drawn to the silent, slow-moving caterpillar in the jar next to his desk. He knows caterpillars turn into butterflies, but just how do they do it? To find out, he studies the words in a butterfly book so many times that he can close his eyes and see the black letters, but he still ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 26th 2000 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1998)
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Oct 08, 2013 538am_erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La Mariposa by Francisco Jimenez follows the school year of a young boy, Francisco, who has recently moved to the United States with his family and he nor his family barely know English. In the story, Francisco struggles in the classroom as he doesn’t understand the instruction or his classmates – he feels like an outsider. He can only relate to the classroom’s pet caterpillar that he sits and watches the entire day in order to escape from his reality. Over the course of the year, we watch Franc ...more
A beautiful, painterly picture book from Francisco Jimenez, with illustration by Simon Silva, that depicts an immigrant boy's first-grade experiences at school. Isolated because of his inability to understand English, Francisco turns inward to his imagination and later to drawing to escape his situation. He takes comfort in watching and caring for a caterpillar his teacher has placed in a jar near his seat. We follow his struggles to fit in, but we celebrate his triumph, as he discovers his artw ...more
Nov 23, 2015 Margaret marked it as hardcopy-review-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Own pbk. 11/23/15 pbs
Apr 14, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I read this book, I felt so much sympathy for the main character Francisco for not being able to understand anything his teacher said. There is a language barrier for many students who are not native English speakers and they might not have the desire to learn due to the simple fact that they do not know the main language that is spoken in school. The metaphor in the story compares Francisco’s journey of learning English to a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. It takes time, but it wi ...more
Angela Hutchinson
In this book, a boy named Francisco is starting the first grade and cannot speak any English. He is struggling in the classroom because he cannot understand anything the teacher is saying. So, he just decides to daydream because listening to the teacher had started giving him headaches. Francisco really enjoyed art class because he could draw anything that he wanted to. One day, the teacher hung one of his drawings up in the board for the class to see, but soon it just disappeared. Francisco has ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Kayla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I liked how this book incorporated some Spanish words. I think the students would enjoy reading a book dealing with a culture that could be different from their own. The only thing I did not like about this book was the fact that the teacher would not let him speak Spanish in the classroom. I don't think that would be a good message to the students. All students have a right to speak their native language in the classroom. They should feel comfortable to speak to the teacher and their classmate ...more
Megan Cureton
La Mariposa is a story about a young Hispanic boy named Francisco that is attending school and doesn't understand any English. He goes to school and comes home every day with a headache because he just sits there and listens to a teacher spill words out of her mouth that doesn't make any sense to him. He starts to drift off in class, even though his dad says that is disrespectful. He stares at the class caterpillar and imagines him flying around his dad in the farm and hanging with him. He's rea ...more
La Mariposa
Written by Francisco Jimenez; Illustrated by Simon Silva
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company, NY, NY 1998
Approx. Interest Level: Grade 2-4

This story revolves around a young boy, who is a native Spanish speaker, and how he copes with living in a culture that he is struggling to understand. In this story, Francisco, the young boy, struggles to understand English and loses interest in school while increasing his interest in a classroom caterpillar, which is the only thing he can connec
Brent Rogers
This story is about a young boy who is a native Spanish speaker and how he copes with living in a culture that he is struggling to understand. The boy struggles to understand English and does not have an interest in school, but does enjoy the class caterpillar. This would not be a good read-aloud because it has a lot of text and not enough pictures. This would be a good book for a new student who is having trouble adapting to a new world. I really like this book!
Elines Flores
This book puts one in the mind of someone else, showing their struggles and eagerness to just understand what is going around them. I have seen many times in my practicum experience when students are "forgotten" and left to struggle with the language barrier used as the excuse. At the beginning, I felt for the boy, being a spanish speaker myself, and understood how he felt. Then at the end all it took was a simple butterfly to break a barrier and start a relationship with the student (pure joy).
Gladys Sosa
Jun 25, 2014 Gladys Sosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because when I read this book to them, they were able to make connection immediately. This book talks about Francisco in his first year of school and how he struggles with the language. The majority of my students are Spanish-speakers and when we are reading the book togethers they always make connections with their own experiences. Students are very engage all the time.
Ashley Enlow
La Mariposa is a beautiful story of the struggles of immigrant children. Francisco is a first grader who knows very little English. He struggle with what his teacher and classmates are saying. The teacher tells him not to speak Spanish. I think this book would be very good to teach students who are ELL or to teach a lesson on immigration and the struggles that they face.
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Feb 04, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really great for bicultural and bilingual students to show how one student overcame the transformations they may encounter. Also, by reading this book to the class, students can learn to be accepting and nice to students that may be different in any way. This is also great for a bully unit. The paint-like illustrations are beautifully done.
Marissa Pezzullo
Feb 04, 2015 Marissa Pezzullo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This book would help to teach children about bullying. I would also read this for the children that are having problems communicating with with other students because of a language barrier. This would help the students to know that it is okay to speak another language but that they should try to communicate in the common language that is spoken.
Katie (Katrina) Means
Beautiful story of a young boy learning to adapt to a new environment, with a friend, the butterfly. I do not wish to ever be like his teacher, or just leave a student to struggle with English. Beautiful drawings and could use with any age.
Dec 09, 2015 Kassandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k-4
What brought my attention to this picture book was the fact that I have read all of Francisco Jimenez memoirs. I remember reading The Circuit when I was in fifth grade and it literally made me analyze my identity as a first generation Mexican American. I loved how relatable this picture book becomes to English Language learners who might have parents that migrate each year because of their jobs. It's also a book in English with Spanish words so it can teach kids either Spanish or English. I real ...more
Sherry Thornberry
What a heartfelt book about an ELL student who does not speak a word of English but who tries to do his best at school to remain respectful and learn something. This books illustrated the plight of those children who are thrust into our culture with no clue how to navigate verbally, socially, and physically.
Sep 28, 2009 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In La Mariposa, Francisco Jimenez recalls a time when immigrants were forbidden to speak in their native languages in schools in order to encourage them to assimilate. The folk art and autobiographical text portray a migrant child's perspective, from the different physical and social environments of home and school to the overwhelming, indecipherable cacophony of a new language. La mariposa, the butterfly, represents the natural world which is usually of intrinsic interest to all children. Franc ...more
Alison Durbin
I thought that this story was incredibly touching. I loved how I was forced to put myself in the shoes of Francisco, as well as other ELL children when they come to an English speaking classroom for the first time. This took me back to my practicum experience last semester when I had an ELL student. Like Francisco, he was in first grade and had an older brother that would help translate for him. Also like Francisco, he was silent for awhile until he felt comfortable enough to speak. The stories ...more
Megan Miller
This would be a great book to use in the classroom to introduce students to what an immigrant may be going through and book an ESL student can relate to. I like the mini glossary of Spanish words.
I like how this book tells the perspective on an ELL student. If I get an ELL student, I might read this book to my students. This book will also help us study different cultures. I did not really enjoy the illustrations, but they did help the story. I did not understand why the teacher and Curtis suddenly changed to become supportive of Francisco at the end of the story. If this story took place in my classroom, I would encourage Arthur to translate for Francisco and for me. I am so happy that ...more
Daniel L.
Having read "The Circuit" by the same author, I was eager to read "La Mariposa" to my younger students. Francisco Jimenez creates beautifully written semi-autobiographical stories about life as a child of a family of migrant farmers from Mexico. The the eyes of the main character, Francisco, we experience a child's first day in a new school, where he is the object of stares and, at the hands of a bully, ridicule. However, Francisco is a dreamer, and he conveys his dreams through beautiful pictur ...more
Hollee Young
Apr 28, 2015 Hollee Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will use this in my classroom. I like how it explains the story from an ELL student's point of view.
Jordan Williams
This story really opened my eyes. It showed me how difficult it must be for a child to be in a place where he can not speak the language of the others. I have learned how cruel others can be simply because one may not speak the same. This is a great read for nearly all ages. I feel it should be required by every elementary class room at the least.
Kelly Powell
What a brilliant story to introduce to students telling the life of a student that may be like another student in their class or someone they may know in the future. Too many times students are pushed aside because they don’t know how to do something in school, but as a teacher this book reminded me to be the driving for in helping each and every child learn what they need to in order to succeed. This book is not only a great book for students, but for any age because of the great and relatable ...more
Chelsea Bucci
Sep 16, 2012 Chelsea Bucci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: esol-books
It is Francisco's first year at school in an English speaking classroom. He only knows a little bit of English which limits his understanding of what his teacher says to the class. During the school day, he is intrigued by a catepillar that sits in a jar next to his desk. He decides to devote all of his energy into learning how a catepillar turns into a butterfly. This story addresses the struggles ELL learners face while they are learning a new language. It also shows how imaginative children c ...more
Hannah Stachewicz
A beautiful book to escape into, full of vivid imagery and imagination.
Katie Nanney
The book reminded me of how difficult it is for immigrant students to adjust to living in another country. I felt sorry for little first-grade Francisco trying to adjust to a new country and a new school. The book teaches the importance of reaching out to others and finding your passions, even when in overwhelming situations. I would recommend this book to anyone 1st grade and up. It's not a good read aloud book for kindergarten, but anyone who can read this book should.
Jun 05, 2008 kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This is taken from his larger book "the circuit". To be honest, I did not get the message of 'the transformation in the life of a young bicultural, bilingual child...'. To me, this was a story of a young child struggling in a school that could/would not provide bilingual teaching or ESL. This poor child wasted a whole year in first grade - I realize that at the time, the point was to immerse the child in English so that they would learn English faster, however, the social isolation and the stude ...more
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Francisco Jimenez emigrated from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, to California, where he worked for many years in the fields with his family. He received both his master's degree and his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is now chairman of the Modern Languages and Literature Department at Santa Clara University, the setting of much of Reaching Out. He is the award-winning author of The Circuit, Breaking Thr ...more
More about Francisco Jiménez...

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