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Francisco Jiménez
Francisco Jiménez 2018-6.jpg
Born June 29, 1943
Tlaquepaque, Mexico
Nationality Mexican
Occupation Writer and academic

Francisco Jiménez (born June 29, 1943 in Tlaquepaque, Mexico) is a Mexican-American writer and professor at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.

Personal life

Francisco Jiménez was born in 1943 in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, as the second oldest of nine children. Up until he was four years old, he lived in a town in the state of Jalisco, Mexico called El Rancho Blanco. His family then immigrated illegally to California to work as migrant farm workers. When he was six years old, he already started working in the fields with his family. Growing up, his family would move with the seasons of crops, causing him to miss months of school every year.

When Jiménez was in eighth grade, his family was deported back to Mexico. A few months later, they returned legally and settled down in a migrant labor camp in Santa Maria, California called Bonetti Ranch. His father could not work anymore because of severe back problems, so they would no longer move from place to place. Throughout high school, Jiménez and his older brother, Roberto, worked as janitors to support their family.

After high school, Jiménez went on to attend Santa Clara University, getting his B.A. in Spanish in 1966. He became a US Citizen during his junior year at Santa Clara. Then, he went to Columbia University to get his Master's and Ph.D. in Latin American Literature.

At Santa Clara University, Jiménez met his to-be wife, Laura Facchini, and they got married while he was attending Columbia University. They have three children: Francisco Andrés, Miguel, and Tomás. Tomás Jiménez is (in 2019) full professor in sociology at Stanford University.


Jiménez started his career as a professor teaching at Columbia University. He later accepted a position teaching in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at Santa Clara University, where he worked full-time until 2015. He has received numerous awards for his teaching, including the Dia del Maestro Teacher of the Year Award from Santa Clara County, the David Logathetti Award for Teaching in Excellence from Santa Clara University, and the US Professor of the Year from CASE and the Carnegie Foundation.

In 1997, Jiménez published his first autobiographical short novel, The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (Cajas de Carton in the Spanish version). This book documents his early life, from crossing the border as a child to attending elementary school and working in the fields. There are three sequels to this book, which continue documenting his life through its next few stages. Breaking Through (Senderos Fronterizos) is about his time in high school, Reaching Out (Más Allá de Mí) is about his time attending Santa Clara University, and Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University documents his years in graduate school.

Jiménez has also written some autobiographical picture books, including La Mariposa (1998) and The Christmas Gift/El regalo de Navidad (2000). In La Mariposa, Jiménez writes about the challenges of not speaking English during his year in first grade. Some awards he has received for his writing include the Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, the Boston Global Award for Fiction, the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award, the Parents' Choice Award,the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature, and the John Steinbeck Award.In 2015 a new school in Santa Maria, California was named in honor of his late brother and him: The Roberto and Dr. Francisco Jiménez Elementary School. He has been featured in Univision's “Aquí y Ahora" and Telemundo, and has received commendations for his work from the U.S. Congress, the California State Senate, and the governor of the State of Jalisco, Mexico. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Santa Clara University.

Selected works

  • The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1997)
  • La Mariposa (Houghton Mifflin, 1998)
  • The Christmas Gift/El regalo de navidad (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)
  • Breaking Through (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) (sequel to Circuit)
  • Reaching Out (Houghton Mifflin, 2008) (second sequel)
  • Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University (Houghton Mifflin, 2015)
  • Stories Never to be Forgotten, English translation of Historias para tener presente. Arizona State University: The Bilingual Press, 2015.
  • Cajas de Cartón y Senderos Fronterizos. Secretaria de Cultura, Gobierno del Estado de Jalisco, 2008.
  • Cajas de Cartón: relatos de la vida peregina de un niño campesino. Boston: School Division, Houghton Mifflin Co., 2003.
  • Más allá de mí. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2009.
  • Senderos fronterizos, Trade Division, Houghton Mifflin, Co., 2002.
  • Ethnic Community Builders: Mexican Americans in Search of Justice and Power (The Struggle for Citizenship Rights in San Jose, California. AltaMira Pres (co-authored with Alma Garcia & Richard Garcia), 2007
  • Casse di cartone: Racconti dalla vita di un piccolo contadino emigrante. Italian Translation of The Circuit, published by Achille, 2007. Translation by Victor B. Vari and Nello Proia
  • Under that Sky, Japanese translation of Breaking Through published by Tokyo: Komine Shoten Ldt, 2005.
  • Cajas de Cartón. Comunicación y Lenguaje III. Guatemala: Editorial Kamar, S.A., 2005.
  • The other side of the Road. Japanese Translation of The Circuit, published by Tokyo: Komine Shoten Ldt, 2004.
  • Little Immigrant's Sky. Chinese Translation of The Circuit: Stories from the life of a migrant child, The Eastern Publishing Company Co., Ltd. 1999.
  • Poverty and Social Justice: Critical Perspectives, Arizona State University: Bilingual Press, 1987.
  • Hispanics in the United States: An Anthology of Creative Literature, Vol. II. Eastern Michigan University: The Bilingual Press, 1982.
  • Mosaico de la vida: prosa chicana, cubana y puertorriqueña. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981.
  • Hispanics in the United States: An Anthology of Creative Literature, Vol I.Eastern Michigan University: The Bilingual Press, 1980.
  • The Identification and Analysis of Chicano Literature. New York: The Bilingual Press, 1979.
  • Los episodios nacionales de Victoriano Salado Alvarez. Prologue, Andrés Iduarte. Mexico: Editorial Diana, 1974.
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