Dear Mr. Francisco Jim�nez,
I have to tell you, after reading your book Breaking Through, I have started to question a lot of everyday things in my life that I used to take for granted. For example, a few days ago in math class, my teacher passed out a piece of paper describing how we could get extra credit points in the class for just bringing in pencils, highlighters, or other classroom supplies. Well, before reading your book, Breaking Through, I thought this was a great way for everyone to improve their grade. But, after reading about how you got docked points in P.E. because your family couldn't afford to replace your stolen gym shoes, I started wondering if this extra credit opportunity was really fair. I mean, what about the kids that can't afford these extra supplies? Your book made me realize that we should all be able to come to the ball field with the same equipment if it's going to be a fair game.
Mr. Jim�nez, when you were working hard to help support your family and going to school at the same time, you said you thought everything was a lost cause, and you wondered if your family was cursed. That question has haunted me since I read your book. Why is there poverty? Why can life be so unfair sometimes? I mean, why should someone have to live in old garages and scrounge for food in the dumpster? I guess your book has made me realize that life isn't always fair, it isn't always crystal clear, and there will be some unanswered questions. But, how you respond to your difficulties in life inspired me. You didn't get stuck in your problems, you didn't feel sorry for yourself, and you didn't get bitter. You just fought harder to break through, and kept focused on your goals.
As I read your book, I began to realize that there are more fences than just the wire ones you described. When you recounted your loneliness and disadvantages, I started to see for myself the fences of poverty and discrimination. Even though I can't say that your book gave me answers to all my questions, I can say that it inspired me to ask questions of my own. Your story gave me the courage to step out of my own little world and become aware of the difficulties and obstacles that many people have to face everyday.
Romig Middle School, Anchorage, Alaska
Teacher: Jennifer Keil