Reaching Out completes the three-part autobiography of Francisco Jiménez’s life from childhood through his undergraduate degree. (Read about part-one here and part-two here). In this book, Jiménez discusses the trials of being the first in his family to go to college, decreasing support from his father for this decision and, “carrying memories of years of poverty and prejudice with him, he enters a world 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. I relate my experiences as a college student from an immigrant Mexican family of migrant workers.” (from book).
Jiménez wrote Reaching Out, ” […] in part to describe the experiences of many students who are the first in their immigrant families to attend college[.]” For some of our high schoolers, being the first to attend college may or may not be met with support. Many will face the same issues that Jiménez writes about. For example, Jiménez talks about his father’s reaction to his collegiate goals with disdain, asking him why he thinks he is better than his family and the roots he came from. In this situation, Reaching Out may act as a guide or at least an understanding voice to many immigrant children going through the same issues as they face their future life goals.
As in both The Circuit and Breaking Through, Jiménez’s writing is, “honest, true, and inspiring” (Amazon). He speaks to and for the multitude of poor migrant workers struggling with poverty, family, future. I wish his voice only spoke for a few; alas, his voice is one for millions.
As I said in my last post on Jiménez, I encourage you to be introduced to his writing in our November Book Group and my hope then, is that you will continue on to finish his autobiography and use it in your classroom. His voice is truly one of the best in Mexican-American young adult literature.