BN.com Gift Guide

Antes de ser libres (Before We Were Free)

( 15 )

Overview

Now available in Spanish, the book Horn Book called “a realistic and compelling account of a girl growing up too quickly while coming to terms with the cost of freedom.”

I wonder what it would be like to be free? Not to need wings because you don’t have to fly away from your country?

From award-winning author Julia Alvarez comes the story of Anita de la Torre, a 12-year-old girl living in the Dominican ...

See more details below
Paperback (Spanish-language Edition)
$6.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (26) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $3.48   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
Antes de ser libres (Before We Were Free)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - Spanish-language Edition)
$6.99
BN.com price

Overview

Now available in Spanish, the book Horn Book called “a realistic and compelling account of a girl growing up too quickly while coming to terms with the cost of freedom.”

I wonder what it would be like to be free? Not to need wings because you don’t have to fly away from your country?

From award-winning author Julia Alvarez comes the story of Anita de la Torre, a 12-year-old girl living in the Dominican Republic in 1960. Most of her relatives have immigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared, Papi has been getting mysterious phone calls about butterflies and someone named Mr. Smith, and the secret police have started terrorizing her family for their suspected opposition to the country’s dictator. While Anita deals with a frightening series of events, she also struggles with her adolescence and her own personal flight to be free.

Premio Pura Belpré 2003.
Mejor Libro del Año para el Miami Herald.
Ganador del Américas Award para Literatura Infantil y Juvenil.
Premio ALA al Mejor Libro de Literatura Juvenil.
Libro Notable ALA.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Alvarez proves as gifted at writing for adolescents as she is for adults. A stirring work of art.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
Children's Literature
Part The Diary of Anne Frank and part first-person novel, this book tells the story of Anita's life in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo dictatorship. The 12-year old writes not only of mysterious phone calls, secret police stakeouts, and the sudden evacuation of her cousins, but also of boys, growing up, and the desire to be normal and well liked. The compelling story takes Anita and her mother from their family compound into hiding in a closet, and finally to New York. Throughout these moves, we listen to Anita lose her voice as she learns the importance of staying quiet to survive. She wilts under the terror of Trujillo's dictatorship and only finds herself in documenting the events of her life in hiding. In this book, we witness the power of storytelling to sustain the will, as well as the ghastly realities of an oppressed country. Alvarez develops the complex changes in Anita's identity as a girl, Dominican, and writer effortlessly through Anita's candid voice. Valenzuela deserves congratulations for her preservation of Anita's accessible language in her translation; the story loses none of its momentum and intimacy. This 2002 Pura Belpré winner is an excellent novel for teaching the horror of dictatorship as well as the importance of freedom of speech. 2004 (orig. 2002), Dell Laurel-Leaf, Ages 10 to 15.
—Veronica E. Betancourt
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375815454
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/20/2004
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 159,314
  • Age range: 12 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.79 (w) x 6.91 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia  Alvarez
Julia Alvarez
With her vivid tales of growing up between the two disparate cultures of the Dominican Republic and the United States, Julia Alvarez has drawn comparisons to writers ranging from Jane Austen to Gabriel García Márquez. However, its is Alvarez's fresh, vivid voice that sets her apart, and speaks to fans from both cultures.

Biography

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City during her Dominican parents' "first and failed" stay in the United States. While she was still an infant, the family returned to the Dominican Republic -- where her father, a vehement opponent of the Trujillo dictatorship, resumed his activities with the resistance. In 1960, in fear for their safety, the Alvarezes fled the country, settling once more in New York.

Alvarez has often said that the immigrant experience was the crucible that turned her into a writer. Her struggle with the nuances of the English language made her deeply conscious of the power of words, and exposure to books and reading sharpened both her imagination and her storytelling skills. She graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College in 1971, received her M.F.A. from Syracuse University, and spent the next two decades in the education field, traveling around the country with the poetry-in-the-schools program and teaching English and Creative Writing to elementary, high school, and college students.

Alvarez's verse began to appear in literary magazines and anthologies, and in 1984, she published her first poetry collection, Homecoming. She had less success marketing her novel -- a semiautobiographical story that traced the painful assimilation of a Dominican family over a period of more than 30 eventful years. A series of 15 interconnected stories that unfold in reverse chronological order, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents addresses, head-on, the obstacles and challenges immigrants face in adapting to life in a new country.

It took some time for "ethnic" literature to gain enough of a foothold in the literary establishment for Alvarez's agent, a tireless champion of minority authors, to find a publisher. But when the novel was released in 1991, it received strongly positive reviews. And so, at the tender age of 41, Alvarez became a star. Three years later, she proved herself more than a "one-hit wonder," when her second novel, In the Time of Butterflies was nominated for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award. Since then, she has made her name as a writer of remarkable versatility, juggling novels, poetry, children's books, and nonfiction with equal grace and aplomb. She lives in Vermont, where she serves as a writer in residence at her alma mater, Middlebury College. In addition, she and her husband run a coffee farm in the Dominican Republic that hosts a school to teach the local farmers and their families how to read and write.

Good To Know

From 1975 until 1978, Alvarez served as Poet-in-the-Schools in Kentucky, Delaware, and North Carolina.

She has held positions as a professor of creative writing and English at Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts (1979-81), the University of Vermont (1981-83), and the University of Illinois (1985-88).

In 1984, Alvarez was the Jenny McKean Moore Visiting Writer at George Washington University. Currently, she is a professor of English at Middlebury College.

She and her husband run a coffee farm, Alta Gracia, in the Dominican Republic.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Middlebury, Vermont
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 27, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Middlebury College, 1971; M.F.A., Syracuse University, 1975

Reading Group Guide

1. Throughout the book, Anita watches her mother to judge the situation in the compound. Her mother often changes her approach to Anita–sometimes treating her as an adult, sometimes as a child. Why do you feel Anita’s mother does that? How does Anita react, and how do you think she would like to be treated? Do you feel she is old enough to be hearing the truth, or should her mother shelter her more?

2. In the beginning of the book, Anita’s extended family suddenly flees the country, leaving only Anita and her immediate family behind. The family lives in a compound and is extremely close. What role does the family, immediate and extended, play in this book? Does Anita realize that not everyone has the relationship her family experiences?

3. Anita is at a stage of her life where questioning authority becomes a common occurrence. In this book, there are several different authority figures that are forcing her to behave in certain ways, such as the government, the opposition army, and her family. How does she deal with this authority? How does she get around some of the rules?

4. Anita and her sister have a typical relationship that most readers can understand. Does this attitude toward each other represent a determination to keep a certain level of normalcy in a very frightening and often dangerous situation? How do both of their attitudes change once the quinceañera occurs?

5. Discuss the importance of the compound in this book, specifically the loss of the family’s freedom to go outside the gates, as well as the areas inside the compound that were off limits.

6. In order to shield the rest of the family, Anita’s father and the group running the opposition speak outside of the house, not realizing that Anita’s window is right next to their meeting place. How did hearing these conversations affect Anita? Do you feel she was better off knowing the truth, or did the whole situation make her grow up faster than necessary?

7. After the compound becomes unsafe for Anita and her family, Anita and her mother secretly move to a safe house location and live in a closet. Compare this experience to historical events that caused people to go into hiding, to be detained because of their beliefs or nationalities, and to be threatened with death. Is there any particular person that she reminds you of?

8. Anita befriends an American boy, Sam. At her tender age of 12, she is divided between her child-like view of the world and her adult emotions. How does her ever-changing view of life affect her relationship with Sam and with her friend Oscar, who is from her country?

9. What role does American culture play in this novel? Specifically, discuss the quinceañera and the Sweet Sixteen rites of passage and the idea that Anita and her family recognize American holidays, such as Thanksgiving.

10. At the end of the novel, Anita has lost some of her family to the violence in her native country. How does she feel about the sacrifice that her family had to make? Does she truly understand the impact that her family made on her country’s history?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Before we were free (spanish)

    This is an amazing book. Very interesting and misterious. I can't wait till I finish! I bet its even better in english!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Bueno

    Esta libro es tan bueno

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Bueno

    Ee es un libro mas mas bueno

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    A mi me gusta este libro tanto. Yo voy a leerlo otra vez.

    Es un libro maravilloso

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2010

    Great book!

    We have just begun reading this book in the advanced Spanish course I am in, and it is a lyrical feast of descriptive words and idiomatic phrases. I have read En el Tiempo de Las Mariposas by Julia Alvarez in Spanish too, and nothing compares to reading the book in the native language in which it was created.

    Antes de Ser Libres is a nonfiction story that relates the ordeal of an influential family in the Dominican Republic during the final years of Trujillo's dictatorship. It is a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about that turbulent time. It provides historical reference to how the societal power structure and differences that remain prevalent in that country today were shaped."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    Being Free

    Being Free. How would one describe that feeling? Would it be like flying, or would it be just like all the other feelings. In Antes de ser Libres, Julia Alvarez does a great job at describing it. She does a great job at telling the story of a young Dominican girl who is struggling to be free. I strongly recommend this book. I think it is great for all ages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2006

    Over sentimental+ boring but good

    Too oversemintal (oh i didnt get to dance with sammy im so sad. thats great, but dont go on for 5 pages about it)Lacks action, though it must be hard to write a book about something based on memory. that's why its getting above a 1.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2004

    M. Polanco Jul 22, 2004

    Este libro como tantos otros que describen la era de el tirano Rafael Leonidas Trujillo en Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana es una historia muy conmovedor. Es una parte de nuestra historia pero atravez de los ojos de una adolescente. Es definitivamente una buena pieza , cuya traduccion es simple y la cual puede ser leida y comprendida facilmente por un adolescente. Es un buen libro para educar a nuestros hijos acerca de esa terrible parte de nuestra historia. Lo recomiendo.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)