Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Search
MENU
Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades
Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3 Workshop 4 Workshop 5 Workshop 6 Workshop 7 Workshop 8
Workshop 1: Engagement and Dialogue
Overview
Authors and Literary Works
Julia Alverez
Biography
Work
Gish Jen
Biography
Work
Tina Lee
Biography
Work
Khot T. Luu
Biography
Work
James McBride
Biography
Work
Lensey Namioka
Biography
Work
Lensey Namioka
Biography
Work
Key References
Video Summary
Teaching Strategies
Commentary
Student Work
Resources
Interactive Workbook -- Explore two poems using strategies from these workshops. Go.
Channel-Talk -- Share your views on the discussion board. Go.


Authors and Literary Works
Biography

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City in 1950, and soon afterward, her family returned to their native Dominican Republic. Her father was a doctor who became active in the resistance movement against the dictator General Rafael Trujillo. When Julia was 10 years old, after a coup attempt on Trujillo made their life in the Dominican Republic too dangerous, the family fled to settle permanently in New York.

Ms. Alvarez writes novels, essays, poetry, and children's books. Much of her work is based on the themes of growing up in a dictatorship and adjusting to life as an immigrant. "I think of myself very much as someone who is putting together different kinds of worlds and a different understanding of language from having those two worlds," she told Salon.com. "America's a place where worlds collided and languages and experiences collided."

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents is the author's best-known novel. Told in a series of vignettes, it relates the story of an immigrant family with four daughters living in exile in the Bronx and trying to adapt to life in America. Library Journal called it "a rollicking, highly original first novel."

In the Time of Butterflies tells the story of the courageous Mirabal sisters, who challenge Trujillo and are brutally murdered by his forces, an event that leads directly to the dictator's own assassination. According to Kirkus Reviews, "Alvarez's voice ... is grounded in realism yet alive with the magic of everyday human beings who summon extraordinary courage and determination to fight for their beliefs. As mesmerizing as the Mirabal sisters themselves."

In her collection of essays, Something to Declare, Alvarez gives a nonfiction treatment of many of the events and themes she has covered fictionally. For example, "I Want to Be Miss América" describes the Alvarez family's reaction to watching the contest and some of the cultural and racial issues it raises for them.

Julia Alvarez is a summa cum laude graduate of Middlebury College. She earned an M.F.A. degree at Syracuse University and attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, one of the country's premier literary institutions. Ms. Alvarez has been teaching for a quarter of a century at such institutions as Phillips Andover Academy, the University of Vermont, George Washington University, and Middlebury College.

back to top Next: Julia Alvarez: Work


Workshop Home Support Materials About this Workshop Sitemap
Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades Workshop Home

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy