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Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University

by Francisco Jiménez

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
191 pages
ISBN: 978-0-547-63230-8

Age 13 and older

This final book in Francisco Jiménez’s memoir cycle that began with The Circuit begins with his arrival at graduate school at Columbia University in the late 1960s. By the end, he has earned his master’s degree and Ph.D., married his college sweetheart, and started a family. Although he is already in adulthood when this account begins, much of what he describes is about learning to live in the larger, sometimes unknown world, a topic resonant and relevant for teens. He has to figure out transportation in New York, how he will afford to eat, how to buy an engagement ring when he proposes, and how to find an apartment once he gets married and moves out of the graduate student dorm. Jiménez’s personal values and faith influence his choices, especially with regard to his commitment to and belief in non-violence as he witnesses the anti-war protests of the late 1960s on campus. Most affecting, though, is when he discusses discovering the work of Mexican authors writing about experiences similar to his own family. The affirmation he felt reading literature by and about people like him was profound. Jiménez’s voice is earnest and appealing in this engaging offering.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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