My comrade in blog, Katrina, told me that Before We Were Free and Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez have been two of our most popular Educator Guides/Books, she suggested that a look into this wonderful author would be a great ¡Mira, Look! piece … I’m sure she’s right!
Julia Alvarez, the Dominican-American author, has penned over 20 books, won numerous awards (including 2 Pura Belpres for Before We Were Free and Return to Sender and a Hispanic Heritage Literature Award), and is widely considered to be one of the most influential and important Latina writers today.
In Julia Alvarez’s first young adult novel, Before we were Free, we meet 12-year-old Anita de la Torre. Like many young children, she is curious and talkative. Having lived a comfortingly protected life thus far, Anita is sweetly innocent and naïve. Her life seems rather normal. She annoys her older sister and has a crush on her new American neighbor Sam. However all of this will change quickly. The story takes place in the Dominican Republic during the months leading up to the assassination of the infamous dictator Trujillo. As the events of the story unfold, Anita’s life is forever changed.
Anita comes to realize that “El Jefe” is in fact, not the hero she believed him to be, but a dictator who threatens her family and friends, disappearing and torturing many Dominicans. She is forced to grapple with what is right and wrong, as family members flee the country, while others are forced into hiding. Her life is literally invaded by El Jefe’s Secret Police, the SIM. Continue reading
Join us March 5th at Bookworks from 5:00-7:00 for our next book group discussion. We will be discussing Julia Alvarez’s, Before we were Free. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say! If you couldn’t make it to our February meeting, be sure to let us know what you thought about Return to Sender by commenting on a post. We want to know what you think about the book!!