How Tia Lola Came to Stay by Julia Alvarez

Summary: (Ages 9 to 12) Review With her brilliantly hued flower-print dresses, her maracas and tambor, and the migrating beauty mark over her lipsticked mouth, Tia Lola stands out in Vermont like a tropical bird in a snowstorm. Her nephew, 10-year-old Miguel, just wants to fit in to his new home. He and his mother and sister have just moved here from New York following his parents' divorce. With his black hair and brown skin, it's hard enough already without the flamboyant antics of his friendly, nutty aunt, visiting from the Dominican Republic. But even while she is dancing her merengues in front of his new friends and painting the white farmhouse purple, Tia Lola is also weaving a magical spell of love and support that Miguel and his wounded family sorely need. Miguel's growing appreciation for his crazy aunt's ways, and the entire town's admiration and respect for an outsider who, without even speaking the same language, wins the hearts of all, is a funny, uplifting story. Julia Alvarez is the author of many award-winning novels, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, and the picture book The Secret Footprints. She writes with a warmth and humor that crosses all boundaries. --Emilie Coulter

Themes: Family, Identity, Membership

Important Links:
Author's Bio
Complete List of Author's Works
Book in Spanish

Classroom Implications: Julia Alvarez's books typically work best with upper-level readers in 8th grade classrooms. However, this book fits very nicely with younger readers, ages9-12. This book could bridge readers into Alvarez'a more difficult books.


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