Sunday Cummins's Reviews > The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child

The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez
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's review
Apr 04, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: latino-themed-literature
Read in March, 2010

The content about life as migrant workers stands in stark contrast to the conditions described in Esperanza Rising. Living in barns. Living in shacks where they covered the floor with card board. Strapping the one family mattress to the top of the car every time they moved from one camp to another. The struggle to learn in just a few months of school every year and one missed opportunity after another. (from Amazon)

Pages I marked with unfamiliar cultural info -
Cantinflas - a movie character I've heard Ruth refer to in our discussions about Latino themed children's literature. I looked the character up on Wikipedia and found information about the actor -
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes (August 12, 1911 – April 20, 1993) was a Mexican comedian and stage and film actor, known professionally as Cantinflas. He often portrayed impoverished campesinos or a peasant of pelado origin.[citation needed:] The character came to be associated with the national identity of Mexico, and allowed Moreno to establish a long, successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin once called him "the greatest comedian in the world"[1:], and Moreno has been referred to as the "Charlie Chaplin of Mexico".[2:] To audiences in the United States, he is best remembered as costarring with David Niven in Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

Jimenez mentions listening to "corridos" on the car radio - I know about this from the McAninch Arts project in the public schools. These songs are like tragic ballads.

His mother cooked tortillas on a comal - a griddle or grill typically used in Mexican cooking - and I think Ruth may have mentioned that she uses one.

Jimenez mentions some field workers called the "braceros." I looked up information on this group. Between the period of 1942 and 1964, millions of Mexicans were imported into the U.S. as "braceros" under the Bracero Program to work temporarily on contract to United States growers and ranchers ( When their contracts were up, they had to return to Mexico. Jimenez's family was not part of this program. He shares a story of one man he knew, Gabriel, who was, and who left to return home because of the abuse and disrespect he received by the contratista - contractor.

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Melissa I really like this author and from your review, I am definitely going to check this book out. It seems like a very realistic view of what most migrant workers would face.

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