Crossing the Wire

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When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to "cross the wire" from Mexico into the United States so he can find work and send money home. But with no coyote money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor must struggle to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert.

Victor's journey is fraught with danger, freezing cold, scorching heat, hunger, and dead ends. It's a gauntlet run by millions attempting to cross the border. Through Victor's often desperate struggle, Will Hobbs brings to life one of the great human dramas of our time.

Curriculet Details
41 Questions
41 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring point of view and simile, as well as annotations describing tone, foreshadowing, and theme. Students will explore the themes of cultural identity and family. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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The cactus fruit and pads can be cooked or served fresh. Below is a picture of what Victor's sisters were looking for.  (This annotation contains an image)


Rico reveals that he is using the jar of money to pay for ______________. 
What does Victor's point of view reveal about the dangers of Rico's plan?  (This annotation contains a video)
Compare and contrast Victor and Rico's view of the United States and traveling across the border.  


Why wasn't Victor able to sleep last night? 
Comida translates to meal. Victor is taking a break to eat lunch with his family.  


Free trade allows countries to import or export goods to other places without fees. This is hurting Victor because he cannot compete with corn prices in the U.S. 
What has changed Victor's mind about traveling across the border? Why does he find it appealing now? 
What does Victory mean in this sentence? Use examples from the text to support your response.  


Victor creates a clear picture of his surroundings by using metaphor and simile.  (This annotation contains a video)
This sentence is an example of which of the following literacy devices? 


A green card allows non-American visitors to work and live in the United States permanently. 
The song parallels the journey that many of the men on the bus are taking. Victor is not the only one to get emotional as he listens and misses home.  
What does Victor's experience on the bus reveal about his character? 


What can you infer about why people were hiding in the pickup? 
If Victor is sent to Guatemala, he would not only be far from home, but also in a new country.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does thinking about his father help Victor focus?  
The riders are attaching themselves to the train by tying their shirts around themselves and then to the rungs. This will help them stay attached to the train as it moves. 


Victor is in a train car carrying new Suburban vehicles like the one pictured below.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does the boy's presence help Victor gather the courage to jump the train? Use examples from the text to support your response.  
Why is Julio surprised with Victor? 
In addition to a wall that separates Mexico and the United States, armed guards also patrol the area to prevent people from entering illegally.  


Why does Victor question the reality of making sixty dollars a day? 
Julio doesn't mean the people are actually wet. This is slang for a person who is illegally trying to enter the United States. 
Chapters 1-9 Quiz 


Compare and contrast how Julio and Victor react to the pack of kids. Why do you think the boys react differently? 
Painthead refers to the kids Julio and Victor saw sniffing paint fumes from paper bags. 


Why has Julio suddenly changed his mind about Nogales? Use text evidence to support your response. 
Day of the Dead is celebrated at the end of October into November. Watch the clip to learn more.  (This annotation contains a video)
What does Victor mean by this statement?  
Maquiladora means factory or manufacturing plant. 


Why does Victor's throat go dry when he sees Miguel pay the driver? Support your response with evidence from the text.  
Miguel is annoyed with Victor and doesn't want the boy to follow him. The use of the word disdain shows the reader that Miguel is unhappy with Victor's presence.  
Miguel is referring to the idea that if the group leaders leave the group will not be able to survive or find the border.  
How is Miguel's reaction to staying in jail different from Julio's reaction? Use text evidence to support your response.  


Think back to the video about point of view, specifically cultural perspective. What does Miguel's statement say about the quality of life an illegal immigrant will have? 
After the September 11th terrorist attacks, the United States increased security measures. From Miguel's statement, we know this made crossing the border more difficult.  
What is Miguel implying with this statement?  
This message parallels Victor's journey into the United States. With every obstacle Victor faces, he must continue on his way no matter what happens.  


Below you will see a photo of part of the Chiricahua Mountains. (This annotation contains an image)
How does this statement illustrate how Victor is gaining more confidence and experience? Use text evidence to support your response. 
Why is Miguel giving all of his things to Victor? 
The cat claw mesquite branches are covered in sharp thorns. (This annotation contains an image)


A puma is a large cat that lives in the mountains.  (This annotation contains a video)


Why is Victor so cautious of the group?  
What does the tone of this statement say about the patrolman? 
Victor compares himself to Rico and assumes defeat and shame. Yet, Victor has no idea if Rico has made it across the border. 


Victor's use of low gives you a good feel of his emotional state. What does the use of this word reveal about Victor's situation? 
What is surprising about this statement? Explain why using evidence from the text.  


Why do you think Rico is upset when Victor mentions his mom? 
The price to cross the boarder is paid to the coyote guides but also to local police as bribes.  
The search-and-rescue helicopter tried to pick up Victor but he decided against it. 
Why is Victor confused by the grave markings? What is the underlying message of saying those lost wouldn't be forgotten? 
Chapters 10-18 Quiz 


What obstacle is in the way of Rico and Victor finding a ride? Why is it an issue? 


Below is a picture of the Baboquivari Peak. (This annotation contains an image)
This statement compares crossing the desert in summer to being as miserable as being put in jail. Do you think the boys will consider becoming mules? 
What does this statement reveal about Rico and Victor? 
Why is Victor so upset? Use text evidence to support your response.  


Notice Rico's attitude during the trip. Rico's reaction to getting a ride is opposite to what you would expect. Pay attention to how it plays out. 
Notice Victor's new found confidence. Do you think this will help him or hurt him? 
Explain how crossing the border has changed Victor and Rico's friendship. Use text evidence to support your response.  


Fat Albert is an actual blimp that is used to monitor drug trafficking in the United States.  (This annotation contains an image)
How are these conversations helping Victor? 
What does Victor mean by this statement? Use text evidence to support your response.  


Rico's reactions and mood are quickly noticed by Victor. Victor's thoughts that something may be wrong foreshadow what is up ahead in the novel.  (This annotation contains a video)
Below is a picture of a caracara.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Victor's hesitation reveal about his character? 


Torres's intentions are good but he has no control if the boys are sent to jail or not.  
Why does Rico stop fighting with Torres? 
Why didn't Rico take the helicopter with Torres? 
Baboquivari Peak is over 7,000 feet tall.  


Like the puma Victor saw earlier, the jaguar is a large, predatory cat. Below is an image of a jaguar. (This annotation contains an image)
In what other ways has Victor's father's advice helped him on his journey? 
What reason does Rico give to support why Victor can be called Turtle again? 
Hansen calls the machine cyclops because it is like a giant eye watching the desert.  


The man's comment illustrates the danger of even offering help to the boys or any other person trying to smuggle in.  
What is the real reason for Rico's anger? 


Compare Rico's view of the United States at the beginning of the novel to how he feels now that he has arrived across the border. Why do you think his feelings have changed? 
This is what asparagus looks like as it grows.  (This annotation contains an image)
Notice Victor's attitude and perspective regarding life in the United States. Even though he is working hard, he is happy to be there and sending money home. 


Why does Victor have a bad feeling about Rico's comment about the orchards? 
Rico's statement illustrates the theme of family and growing up. He has realized his purpose and grown into that realization.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does this statement sum up Victor's purpose and happiness in living in the United States? Use text evidence to support your response.  
Chapters 19-28 Quiz