How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay

( 22 )

Overview

A delightfully entertaining story of family and culture from acclaimed author Julia Alvarez.

Moving to Vermont after his parents split, Miguel has plenty to worry about! Tía Lola, his quirky, carismática, and maybe magical aunt makes his life even more unpredictable when she arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out his Mami. Like her stories for adults, Julia Alvarez’s first middle-grade book sparkles with magic as it illuminates a ...

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How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay

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Overview

A delightfully entertaining story of family and culture from acclaimed author Julia Alvarez.

Moving to Vermont after his parents split, Miguel has plenty to worry about! Tía Lola, his quirky, carismática, and maybe magical aunt makes his life even more unpredictable when she arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out his Mami. Like her stories for adults, Julia Alvarez’s first middle-grade book sparkles with magic as it illuminates a child’s experiences living in two cultures.

Although ten-year-old Miguel is at first embarrassed by his colorful aunt, Tia Lola, when she comes to Vermont from the Dominican Republic to stay with his mother, his sister, and him after his parents' divorce, he learns to love her.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they’re being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of the la lengua nativa - the mother tongue. Simple, bella, un regalo permanente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.”–Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Alvarez (The Secret Footprints; How the Garc a Girls Lost Their Accents) creates a story that is alternately affecting and treacly, starring nine-year-old Miguel (who soon turns 10) and his younger sister, Juanita, as they attempt to adjust after their move from New York City to Vermont. T a Lola, their vivacious aunt, comes to visit from the Dominican Republic to help out their newly divorced mother. With her brightly patterned dresses and constantly shifting beauty mark, T a Lola is portrayed as both wise and childlike as she schemes to make everyone jolly. Miguel struggles with his parents' divorce and with schoolmates who can't pronounce his name and assume he will be a standout baseball player because of his roots. T a Lola, as surrogate parent, fixes everything with a "magic" touch that inspires great food, celebrations and gift giving. Alvarez carefully translates Lola's Spanish until near the end when, after first refusing to speak English and then speaking in whole borrowed phrases, she becomes quite adept at the second language. She cleverly names Miguel's baseball team, Charlie's Boys (after the disgruntled landlord, Colonel Charlebois), and then tells a perfectly constructed story in English. As likable as T a Lola is, some readers may have trouble believing her quick transformation. In addition, Miguel's long-distance father appears more involved in the boy's life than his own mother (with whom Miguel lives); the mother's character is never fully developed. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
PW called this story of a nine-year-old boy and his younger sister attempting to adjust after their move from New York City to Vermont in the wake of their parents' divorce "alternately affecting and treacly." Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
Children's Literature
Miguel Guzmán can't decide if he wants his Aunt Lola to go back to the Dominican Republic or stay with them at their rented farmhouse in Vermont. He thinks she alternates between being charmingly entertaining and God-please-sink-me-into-the-floor embarrassing. As Miguel, his mother and his sister, Juanita, adjust to life outside New York City, they find that Tía Lola is a comfort during this time of divorce and transition. Vivacious, a wonderful cook, sociable and full of adventure, Tía Lola paints the house purple, sews jerseys for the Little League team and accompanies the children on a trip to New York to visit their Dad. In the end, Miguel and Nita spend Christmas with their mother's relatives in the Dominican Republic, meeting the extended family that is the center of Tía Lola's treasure-trove of amazing stories. Alvarez has written a contemporary multicultural story about family and growing up, with snippets of Spanish sprinkled throughout and an author's note explaining the differences between Dominican Spanish and standard Spanish. 2001, Alfred A. Knopf, $17.99 and $15.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Chris Gill
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Miguel and Juanita Guzman and their mother have moved from New York City to rural Vermont, where Mami has taken a position as a college counselor. Left behind is their beloved Papi, a painter whom their mother is divorcing. To ease the transition and to help with baby-sitting, Mami has sent for her aunt from the Dominican Republic. From the moment the children meet her, glamorous T'a Lola creates a delightful whirlwind in their home, from her flamboyant appearance and tropical decorating to her lively music, exotic cooking, and vivid storytelling. Miguel, anxious to make friends and fit in, is both embarrassed and comforted by her warm presence and he half-believes her practice of the Santeria religion gives her magical powers, including the ability to get him on the baseball team. The youngsters' attempt to teach their aunt their language leads to many humorous situations as she interprets idioms literally and uses expressions inappropriately. Accompanying them on a visit to their father, she gets lost but, once found, helps them accept that the divorce will not threaten their parents' love for them. In the end, T'a Lola decides to stay. The story concludes with a Christmas holiday trip to the Dominican Republic where the children meet their mother's family for the first time and begin to accept that home is where love is. Readers will enjoy the funny situations, identify with the developing relationships and conflicting feelings of the characters, and will get a spicy taste of Caribbean culture in the bargain.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Tia Lola has just arrived from the Dominican Republic with her bright dresses and odd habits, and Miguel is not so certain her odd ways are attractive or acceptable. Her habits make him stand out from his Vermont classmates and as hard as Miguel tries, he can't keep her hidden from his new friends. Her odd habits change his life in this moving multicultural story.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

It's horrible enough that 10-year-old Miguel has to move after his parents divorce -- from New York City to Vermont, where "his black hair and brown skin stand out" and he has yet to make a friend. But now, his flamboyant aunt from the Dominican Republic is coming to visit. How will Miguel ever fit in?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440418702
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Series: Tia Lola Stories Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 68,178
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 7.69 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia  Alvarez

Julia Alvarez is the award-winning author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, ¡Yo!, In the Time of the Butterflies, In the Name of Salomé, and a picture book, The Secret Footprints. Her most recent book for young readers is entitled Before We Were Free. She is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.

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.

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    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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Good

    Its a pretty good book, even though its not the best book in the world.......

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Review

    Great book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    Great short read, fun for this Dominicana to read. Situations are a little too easy to predict and cliche (the curmudgeon who finds his heart, etc.) but it was still fun and great to introduce my son to some of his Dominican culture and heritage. Great for ages 10+, although some of the spanish might trip up younger kids.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 30, 2010

    What i think?

    This is a good book. Anyone in the age range of 9 and 12 should read this book. I recommend this book to everyone who reads it, trust me you will see what i'm talking about. This book is very interesting to the kids minds!!!! i know because i am one !!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2008

    How Tia Lola was Mediocore

    How Tía Lola came to ¿Visit¿ Stay by Julia Alvarez is not one of my favorite novels off the Hispanic author shelf, but it was a very fun read and, in my own opinion, had some symbolism throughout as well as a connection back to the Spanish language through the array of characters in Alvarez¿s novel. The novel is about a boy named Miguel whose parents have recently filed to be divorced, and his mother has invited his very colorful aunt to stay in their home. Miguel has to be the shallowest character written about in literature. His aunt is a little odd and a bit fiery and flavorful than most people, but he worries more about what his new classmates would think than staying on the side of family. Alvarez wrote, ¿This is how Tía Lola becomes top secret.¿ '28' Miguel decides to keep his aunt a secret because all his friends think she is a ghost anyway. He¿d rather be liked than actually stick by his own family, as stated. Even though he slowly admits he likes some things about his aunt, he keeps her under wraps practically the whole visit. Now, Miguel¿s mother, Mami as they call her, has a very, shall I say, more developed storyline. She is new to being a single mother just in the midst a terrible divorce, and is now living on her own with her two kids. Mami is also the one who invited Tía Lola to visit. Something interesting about her character is the narrator makes many references to `the blue bowl¿. Alvarez wrote, ¿But he keeps his mouth shut. He knows why his mother is staring at the blue bowl, and he doesn¿t want to upset her memory.¿ '2' The infamous `blue bowl¿ is a symbol of the broken relationship between Miguel¿s parents, being the bowl they spoon fed cake to each other from on their wedding day, and a symbol of Mami¿s torture that her marriage is over. Now, Miguel¿s younger sister, Juanita, seemed to be the most underdeveloped character. She offered a symbol of innocence in the novel. Juanita is very young, roughly four or five, and, as I noticed, doesn¿t really harness what is going on with her parents yet. Juanita offers some basics of the Spanish language to the novel. Juanita says, ¿`Tía is the word for aunt in Spanish, right, Mami?¿¿ '1' And finally, for the main roles throughout the novel, is Tía Lola, the family¿s colorful aunt from the Dominican Republic. She is very loud, boisterous, and can only speak Spanish which offers more than just the basics, like Juanita¿s character offers. I believe Tía Lola symbolizes the idea of prejudice in America. Especially with Miguel keeping her top secret from his friends he is rejecting something different just because it is different. I also believe Tía Lola represents some of the problems in America vs. Cultural Changes because Miguel most likely feels that Tía Lola could mess up his Latin-American lifestyle, like a large majority of bigoted Americans feel that letting people jump our borders is going to ruin our country. Tía Lola has to be my favorite character over all because I, personally, would love a wacky and crazy aunt like her. Another thing I loved about this novel is the Spanish integration into the English text like using simple Spanish words as way to show younger readers that other languages are out there other than just English. Overall, I give this novel three stars as a book and two thumbs up if they ever made it a movie. It is good for rainy day fun or for some analysis into what each little piece means.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Read

    I read this in fourth grade it is pretty good. Now i am in seventh and still like it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    !!

    Julia alverez is my nieghbor!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Hey

    Have you seen the cover!!!!!!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Jrhhwhegfgggfrffhheegggeddhhddvhhdfeddhfrhrjfkjjkrjrrkrkkerrkkiikfjjjjjffhhhhhhhhhuuuuiyyyyyyyyuyuuyyuuuuuuuuuiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuukkuyfyhiudshjjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyythtgyyyyyhgggggggggggggggggggggggvggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhjjjjh

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    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2003

    Tia Lola is the Bomb!

    I loved this book, it made me not want to sleep at night. The way the author expressed the way the characters were feeling was great. This was the first time that i read a book by this author but, i can tell you that i will be reading a another one her. I suggest that chioldren and adults should read it to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2014

    Battle of the books (bob)

    For this one activity that i am in we are having to read this book i havn't read it yet but the girl i "like" who is in it to and she said it was a really good book so ofcourse i took her advise

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

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Tia lola

    This was a very good book that had my full attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Love

    I need to read it for battle of th book

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  • Posted October 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cute.....

    I read his to be able to discuss with my daughter. I liked it but not loved it! Could of been a lttle better but kept me reading.

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

    Posted May 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews

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