"'La frontera'...I heard it for the first time back in the late 1940s when Papa and Mama told me and Roberto, my older brother, that someday we would take a long trip north, cross la frontera, enter California, and leave our poverty behind." So begins this honest and powerful account of a family's journey to the fields of California -- to a life of constant moving, from strawberry fields to cotton fields, from tent cities to one-room shacks, from picking grapes to topping carrots and thinning lettuce. Seen through the eyes of a boy who longs for an education and the right to call one palce home, this is a story of survival, faith, and hope. It is a journey that will open readers' hearts and minds.
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Under the Wire
The author uses a simile here to help us picture what the family looked like crawling under the barbed wire. Watch this short video to learn more about similes and metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
How has Roberto's reaction to the family's move changed?
This is what a cotton boll looks like before it is picked. You can see why the boy telling the story would say the sharp prongs scratched him like "cat's claws". (This annotation contains an image)
The boy's parents' reaction to his pile of cotton was not what he had expected. From his point of view, how did he think they would react?
Did you know when you are reading in Curriculet, there is a tool that can help with unknown words? Just click and hold on the word, and when you release a box will pop up. Choose "Define" and you will see the definition of the word. Use this tool whenever you come to a word you don't know! Try it with "corridos".
When you infer you use your own background knowledge or experiences, as well as clues from the text to better understand what is going on in a story. What can you infer about Curtis and the green jacket after reading this page. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Watch this short video about how authors use symbolism to make a point in a story. Think about how the butterfly really symbolizes Francisco's new life at school. (This annotation contains a video)
Francisco's actions toward Curtis, even after Curtis bullied him, shows that Francisco is
Miracle in Tent City
How can you tell Francisco's family is hardworking?
Torito had what is called a "Fever Seizure". Read this short article to find out more about his symptoms. (This annotation contains a link)
What can we infer when Papa interrupts Mama's explanation to Roberto and Francisco?
This is a card similar to the one Francisco is describing of the Santo Nino de Atocha. (This annotation contains an image)
Let's Review the First Four Chapters
El Angel de Oro
A murmur is the sound a person or group of people make when they are speaking quietly. In this sentence, the human ability to murmur is given to a non-human object, the water. This is called personification. Watch this short video to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)
Sayings like "my heart sank into my stomach" and "feeling a lump in my throat" helps us to infer that
Did you notice how Francisco's attitude toward fishing changes? At the top of this page he can't wait to go fishing, and by the end he is letting his fishing pole float away. Why do you think he makes the decision to get rid of his fishing rod?
Even as the family is struggling greatly to survive, Papa surprises Mama with a sweet gift. This action helps us envision the theme that has been developing. Watch this video about how themes develop, and think about which theme you think has developed in this story. (This annotation contains a video)
What details does the author include so far in this chapter to help us understand the relationship Francisco has with El Perico?Quote several phrases to support your answer.
How do the paragraphs on this page contribute to our understanding of what migrant life is like?
This is a great example of a metaphor. The loud noise of the horn calling Francisco's father to work is compared to a tonic. A tonic is a medicine that makes you feel full of energy. After missing so much work because of the rain, no wonder Francisco's father is feeling better!
This is what Papa might have looked like picking the cotton and putting it in the long sack. (This annotation contains an image)
Let's Review the Middle Four Chapters
The author uses vivid description in this paragraph to help us picture the family's new home. What do you picture when you read this description? How does this place compare to the other places they have lived?
Write a summary of the events in this chapter that explain why it is entitled, "The Circuit".
Learning the Game
Have you ever played the old game of "kick the can"? Here is a short video to show you how! (This annotation contains a video)
How is Gabriel's experience in America different than Francisco's family's experience?
Furrows are long narrow trenches made in the ground in order to plant seeds. This is a picture of a horse-pulled plow tilling furrows. (This annotation contains an image)
What lesson did Francisco learn from Gabriel?
To Have and to Hold
Francisco's penny collection is obviously important to him. When everything else in his life is always on the move and changing, his pennies are one thing he can control. Do you have a collection or item that you value? (This annotation contains an image)
Just like the story about Carl, the author is getting ready to use a strategy called "flashback" to take us back in time. Watch this short video about how authors include flashbacks to help us learn more about the characters. (This annotation contains a video)
This paragraph demonstrates Francisco's _______________ learning new things.
Explain how the story Francisco's mother tells him is directly related to one of the themes that has developed. Use details from the text to support your explanation.
Sometimes authors give us clues that something is about to happen that will change the course of the story. Just like when Rorra first saw Francisco's pennies, we as good readers, knew she was going to do something to them. What do you predict will happen if the stove fuel really is gasoline?
How does the illegal immigration status of the family affect the events in the story?
Every year hundreds of swallows (tiny birds) migrate back to a mission in California called the San Juan Capistrano. This is the event Francisco is comparing to his family's return to Santa Maria. Watch the short video on this site to learn more about the swallows of Capistrano. (This annotation contains a link)
How will Roberto getting a job in town change the family's life?
Migrant field work is very difficult. Think about Francisco's father's condition, and even at a young age the harvesting hurts Francisco's back. How would you feel if your family's welfare depended on your ability to do this difficult work day after day?
Which sentence best supports the inference that Francisco feels excited to perform his recitation of the section of the Declaration? (Remember to put it in quotation marks.)
Let's Review the Final Four Chapters