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Taking Hold
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Taking Hold
From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University
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In this fourth book in his award-winning memoir series, Francisco Jimenez leaves everything behind in California—a loving family, a devoted girlfriend, and the culture that shaped him— to...
In this fourth book in his award-winning memoir series, Francisco Jimenez leaves everything behind in California—a loving family, a devoted girlfriend, and the culture that shaped him— to...
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  • In this fourth book in his award-winning memoir series, Francisco Jimenez leaves everything behind in California—a loving family, a devoted girlfriend, and the culture that shaped him— to attend Columbia University in New York City.
    With few true accounts of the Latino experience in America, Francisco Jimenez's work comes alive with telling details about the warmth and resiliency of family and the quest for identity against seemingly impossible odds.
    "Many [students] have commented that your books give them hope and courage and, thanks to you, many are seriously thinking about college for the first time in their lives" —John Padula, teacher, Boston Public Schools

About the Author-

  • Francisco Jiménez 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 the chairman of the Modern Languages and Literature Department at Santa Clara University, the setting of much of his newest novel, Reaching Out. He is the Pura Belpre Honor winning author of The Circuit, Breaking Through, and La Mariposa. He is also the recipient of the John Steinbeck Award. He lives with his family in Santa Clara, California.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    Gr 9 Up-In this fourth of Jimenez's autobiographies, the author recounts his life from when he started his graduate work at Columbia University in the late 1960s to when he began his professorship at Santa Clara University in 1973. Jimenez refers frequently to the poverty he and his migrant family experienced when he was a child. The anxiety wrought by his family's dearth of resources instilled in him an ongoing fear that he was inadequate to meet the financial and academic challenges before him. Jimenez demonstrates that by dint of intelligence, tenacity, and help from friends and professors, he was able to obtain the education he desired so fervently. Jimenez's memory is capacious. He remembers the color of the suit he wore on his first day at Columbia (light green) and the cost of rent for the first two apartments where he and his wife lived ($150 and $175). These details are interesting but without modern context will not mean much to most readers. Jimenez re-creates some scenes with resonant clarity, emphasizing the necessity of pinching pennies and the joy of finding out his wife was pregnant. Other elements are not as strong. Lengthy descriptions of his academic pursuits go beyond the intended readership's interests and educational experience. Overall, this is an eloquent work about overcoming poverty to receive an advanced education. VERDICT Consider purchasing this for biography collections in need of modern-day inspirational figures.-Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2015
    Grades 9-12 Following Reaching Out (2008), this is the fourth in the series of fictionalized memoirs documenting Jimenez's life in the U.S. as a Mexican immigrant. Now far removed from his life as a poor migrant farm worker, Jimenez begins this account with his arrival in New York to begin graduate studies at Columbia University. With characteristic grace and insight, he describes his new life in the grit and crush of Manhattan, the initial alienation of being a misfit among peers for whom Ivy League life is an extension of home, and the strain of missing his family and girlfriend in California. This is also the story of how Jimenez became politically aware. In the anti-Vietnam demonstrations, the assassination of Dr. King, and the literature of the Mexican revolution, he finds the language with which to understand the depth and meaning of the words of his literary mentor, Jose Marti: Anything that divides men from each other, that separates them, singles them out, or hems them in, is a sin against humanity. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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Taking Hold
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From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University
Francisco Jiménez
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