Julia Alvarez

Books by This Author

A Gift of Gracias: The Legend of Altagracia

Illustrated by: Beatriz Vidal
Age Level: 6-9

"After the failure of her father's olive crop, María fears that her family will have to leave their farm in the New World. Then one night, inspiration comes when she dreams of planting the seeds from the oranges that came from her parents' homeland of Valencia, Spain. A beautiful and mysterious woman — Our Lady of Thanks — enters the dream, foretelling a bountiful harvest…(T)his elegantly woven tale introduces the legend of Our Lady of Altagracia, the patron saint of the Dominican Republic." — School Library Journal

Before We Were Free

Young girl staring out a window
Age Level: Young Adult
Language: Spanish vocabulary featured

Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her 12th birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have emigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government's secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition of el Trujillo's dictatorship. Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.

Finding Miracles

Age Level: Middle Grade

Product Description: Milly Kaufman is an ordinary American teenager living in Vermont — until she meets Pablo, a new student at her high school. His exotic accent, strange fashion sense, and intense interest in Milly force her to confront her identity as an adopted child from Pablo's native country. As their relationship grows, Milly decides to undertake a courageous journey to her homeland and, along the way, discovers that the story of her birth is intertwined with the story of a country recovering from a brutal history.

How Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay

Age Level: Middle Grade

This book is about a ten-year-old Dominican boy, Miguel, who recently moved to a small town in Vermont after his mother and father separated. Throughout the story Miguel demonstrates mixed feeling about his parents' separation, about starting a new life in a small town away from New York City where his father lives, and about welcoming a flamboyant aunt, "Tía Lola," who only speaks Spanish.

How Tía Lola Ended Up Starting Over

Age Level: Middle Grade

Product Description: Welcome to Tía Lola's bed and breakfast! With the help of her niece and nephew and the three Sword Sisters, Tía Lola is opening the doors of Colonel Charlebois' grand old Vermont house to visitors from all over. But Tía Lola and the children soon realize that running a B & B isn't as easy they had initially thought — especially when it appears that someone is out to sabotage them! Will Tía Lola and the kids discover who's behind the plot to make their B & B fail?

How Tía Lola Learned to Teach

Age Level: Middle Grade

"Just as warm and upbeat as How Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (2001), the second book about Miguel and Juanita's aunt, who comes from the Dominican Republic to live with the kids' family in Vermont, is written in the same lively, playful style. Language is a central focus as Tía Lola volunteers to teach Spanish in the local elementary school. The story builds to a tense climax when her visa is about to expire, and the whole town rallies for her to stay. Readers will enjoy both the messages and the humor in Tía's wry, wise sayings." — Booklist

How Tía Lola Saved the Summer

Age Level: Middle Grade

Product Description: Miguel Guzman isn't exactly looking forward to the summer now that his mother has agreed to let the Sword family — a father, his three daughters, and their dog — live with them while they decide whether or not to move to Vermont. Little does Miguel know his aunt has something up her sleeve that just may make this the best summer ever. With her usual flair, Tía Lola decides to start a summer camp, complete with magical swords, nighttime treasure hunts, campfires, barbecues, and an end-of-summer surprise!

Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: The quinceañera, a celebration of a Latina girl's fifteenth birthday, has become a uniquely American trend. Acclaimed author Julia Alvarez explores the history and cultural significance of the "quince" in the United States, and the consequences of treating teens like princesses.

Return to Sender

children overlooking field
Age Level: 9-12, Middle Grade
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

When Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, the family decides to hire a family of Mexican migrant workers. For Tyler, the workers' presence on the farm — as well as that of the three young daughters — is shrouded in mystery. As he develops a friendship with Mari, the eldest, he begins to wonder about the family's immigration status and what it means to be patriotic. In the meantime, Mari struggles with her own complicated feelings and worries about her mother, who is missing.


Age Level: Young Adult

"The heroine of Julia Alvarez's ¡Yo! is an author who writes what she knows — much to the chagrin of her close-knit immigrant family…Yo's friends and family members, many of whom appeared in Alvarez's earlier novel, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, take turns narrating this book. They draw a vivid portrait of the writer, describing her big mouth and high-strung nature as well as the details of her youth in the Dominican Republic." — Amazon Review