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Julia Alvarez: 1950—: Author

Children's Books

After In the Name of Salomé, Alvarez's next two literary efforts were children's books. In 2000 she published The Secret Footprints, which was geared for children from ages four to seven and based on a traditional Dominican fable. In 2001 Alvarez published How Tia Lola Came to Stay. Written for children from ages 9 to 12, the book tells the story of nine-year-old Miguel, who struggles to adjust to his mother's divorce and subsequent move from New York to Vermont. Life is turned on end yet again when Miguel's colorful aunt, Tia Lola, comes from the Dominican Republic to stay with the family.

Much of Alvarez's writings come from her personal experiences of alienation, marginalization, and the need for self-discovery. "People think that we write because we know things," she explained to Jean Charbonneau of the Denver Post. "But we write because we want to find things out, in the way that stories only can help us understand, without giving any real answers, but with all their richness, in a way that facts and figures don't do it." Alvarez has struck a common chord, not only among Latinos, but also with a larger audience that find much to contemplate and learn from homelands that Alvarez creates with words.

Selected Writings


How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1991.

In the Time of the Butterflies, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994.

¡Yo!, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1996.

In the Name of Salomé, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2000.


Homecoming, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1984, revised edition, Dutton, 1995.

The Other Side/El Otro Lado, Dutton, 1995.

Seven Trees, Kat Ran Press, 1999.


Something to Declare (essays), Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1998.

The Secret Footprints (children's picture book), illustrations by Fabian Negrin, Knopf, 2000.

How Tia Lola Come to Stay (young adult), Knopf, 2001.



Authors and Artists for Young Adults. Gale Research, 2001.

Dictionary of Hispanic Biography. Gale Research, 1996.


Americas, January/February 2001.

Commonweal, April 10, 1992.

Denver Post, July 9, 2000.

Library Journal, August 1998; September 1999; May 2000; September 2000.

The Progressive, July 1995.

Publishers Weekly,April 5, 1991; July 11, 1994; April 24, 1995; March 18, 1996; October 14, 1996; December 16, 1996; July 13, 1998; September 21, 1998; May 15, 2000; August 14, 2000; February 26, 2001.

World Literature Today, autumn 1995; autumn 1997; winter 2001.


Contemporary Authors Online, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC

Frontera Magazine, www.fronteramag.com/issue5/Alvarez

Middlebury College, www.middlebury.edu/~english/faculty.html

—Kari Bethel

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyJulia Alvarez: 1950—: Author Biography - From Latina To "gringa", Student, Itinerant Poet, And Teacher, Poet And Author