Some things to consider as you read Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs

Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.

Viterbo University


v     Choose one passage in the book where you learned something new about immigration, immigrants, or culture.


v     The narrator uses many colloquialisms, idioms, or axioms:  Identify as many as you can and “translate” them.


v     How are U.S. corporations represented in this novel?  Cite specific passages in the novel where corporations are referenced 


v     There are a number of allusions to NAFTA.  Do a web-based search of NAFTA.  Include in your information:


ü      Who

ü      What

ü      When

ü      Where

ü      Why

ü      How


v     Find examples of irony in the book.


v     Why do Victor and Rico use Mickey Mouse as their symbol for success in America?


v     Do a web-based search of “Facts and Myths” of current immigration.  How can you determine what is true and what is not true?  Take the PBS quiz at


v     List as many Spanish words as you can find in the novel.  Define the words.  How many of them are now used by many “Americans”?  Use the Oxford English Dictionary to confirm your answers.


v     Do a web-based search of the hazards of immigration from Latin American countries to the U.S.A.  Find newspaper or magazine articles that narrate tragedies or near tragedies.


v     What are some different proposals before Congress to resolve the immigration problem?  Who sponsors these proposals?  What information can you find about the wall to separate the U.S. from Mexico?



v     Name at least one Latino in the following areas:


ü      U.S. politics

ü      Entertainment

ü      Science/medicine

ü      Sports

ü      Business

ü      Religion

ü      Arts


v     Victor Flores seems to believe in the American Dream.  Define the dream.  Is it a myth or a reality today?


v     Miguel says that one out of every ten citizens of Mexico is living in the United States.  Do some research to find out if this is true.  Also, where are the highest concentrations of Latino communities in the United States?  Do your answers surprise you?  Where are the highest concentrations of Latino communities in Wisconsin?


v     Plot:  List the obstacles that Rico and Victor confront.


v     Style:  What did you think of the author’s style of writing?  Find passages that especially impressed you. 


v     Personal Response:  Write a short essay about a time in your life when you worked very hard for a “dream.”


v     Discussion Question:  How is the illegal immigration from Latin American countries to the U.S. similar to and different from the Underground Railroad?


v     Theme:  What did you learn about the “human condition” from reading Crossing the Wire?  In other words, what stayed with you after you finished the novel?


v     Characterization:  How are Victor and Rico different?  Victor and Rico make a sacrifice for their families.  How would you convince another reader that both boys are caring and selfless?


v     How much do you know about Mexico?  Answer the following:


ü      Who is the current president of Mexico?  How many years is he scheduled to serve?

ü      Name the main political parties in Mexico.

ü      What is Mexico’s major export?

ü      Tell the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

ü      What is the Mexican equivalent of the U.S. Independence Day?

ü      In the U.S. we use dollars.  What do they use in Mexico?  What is the exchange rate?

ü      How many Mexican states can you name?

ü      What Spanish words have we adopted for use in the U.S.?

ü      Name two important indigenous peoples from Mexico.

ü      What Mexicans have won a Nobel Prize?

ü      What are the major colors in the Mexican flag?


Check out these web sites:  (Will Hobbs Home Page)  (Interview with Will Hobbs)  (Teaching Tips)