“They each took a row. I went ahead about a quarter of the way into Papá’s row. I took my hands out of my pockets and started picking and piling the cotton in the furrow. Within seconds my toes were numb and I could hardly move my fingers. My hands were turning red and purple. I kept blowing on them, trying to keep warm. […] I could not go on. Frustrated and disappointed, I walked over to Papá. He straightened up and looked down at me. His eyes were red and watery from the cold. Before I said anything, he looked at Roberto, who bravely kept on picking, and told me to go over to the fire. I knew then I had not yet earned my own cotton sack”.
The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, by Francisco Jimenez, is an autobiographical novel based on the author’s journey from Mexico to the United States. Narrated by a child’s point of view, the book follows the life of the author and his family as they harvest crops in a variety of locations in the US.
This book was definitely a “windows” book for us as the stories of this migrant family – backbreaking work in the fields, living in tents and one-room shacks, living out Mexican culture and traditions – are not ones that our book club could personally relate to.
And yet, there were also parts of it that we could relate to – courage, hope, dignity, family love, sibling camaraderie, school experiences, friendships.
We loved making our own corn tortillas and then eating them! Thanks to Sara and Will for a great book club. Already looking forward to next month!