How Tia Lola Came to Stay by Julia Alvarez

Jamie just contacted me via email. It turns out that Jen’s class will be reading “How Tia Lola Came to Stay” by Julia Alvarez. My next move will be to purchase/borrow this book and keep up with their class reading. I will then discuss the book with Jen and I will make sure she understands the important details and lessons.

According to an review, How Tia Lola Came to Stay is:

A story about a 10-year old boy experiencing major changes in his life – who is learning how to deal with these changes. Miguel has moved from NYC to a small town in Vermont because his parents are getting a divorce. His mother has a new job as a counselor at a college, and Miguel and his little sister, Juanita, have to start a new life with her.

It is hard for Miguel to be the only Latino in his class and he misses his father. He tries not to say too much about his feelings, as he doesn’t want to upset his mother. Even so, he is not thrilled when she tells him that her aunt, Tia Lola, is coming from the Dominican Republic to help take care of them while they get settled. She doesn’t speak English and Miguel and Juanita only speak a little Spanish.

Tia Lola arrives like a burst of sunshine on a cold, gray Vermont day. She brings good food, love, laughter, and a spice for life. She is not worried about fitting in and everyone loves her, though Miguel cannot help but be embarrassed by her at first. Through her colorful approach to life she helps Miguel and his family figure out how to cope with all the changes in their lives and comes up with a plan to help Miguel make friends.

How Tia Lola Came to Stay touches on subjects that are relevant to children today. Divorce, moving, family dynamics, learning to fit in are topics with which many children have to deal. Julia Alvarez does a nice job of sprinkling the dialogue with Spanish words and finding authentic reasons to translate them in the text. Tia Lola’s joyful way of living life comes through in the situations and language Alvarez uses. Miguel’s maturation through the book is gradual and believable as he works through his feelings about what has happened to his family. All in all this book is a good read.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stef Woods
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 13:12:49

    Great book summary! This should help future volunteers, parents and students themselves.


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