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How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay

How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay

by Julia Alvarez

Ten-year-old Miguel learns to love his colorful aunt, Tía Lola, when she comes to Vermont from the Dominican Republic to stay with his mother after his parents' divorce.


Ten-year-old Miguel learns to love his colorful aunt, Tía Lola, when she comes to Vermont from the Dominican Republic to stay with his mother after his parents' divorce.

Editorial Reviews

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.)
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.
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.
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?

Product Details

Random House Childrens Books
Publication date:
Tia Lola Stories Series
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

Middlebury, Vermont
Date of Birth:
March 27, 1950
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
B.A., Middlebury College, 1971; M.F.A., Syracuse University, 1975

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