Linda Salem, our children’s literature bibliographer, is guest blogging today. Here’s her account of a lecture she attended on November 15 at SDSU:

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez

    It surprises Julia Alvarez when people ask her if writing for children is her way of taking a break from writing for adults. To Alvarez, writing children’s books is no break. It is harder than writing for adults because she must more carefully choose what to leave out.

    Speaking to a standing room only crowd today at SDSU, Alvarez said she wants Dominican Republic children to have books to read that include their folk stories and traditions and so she writes them. Her Alta Gracia Foundation, started with husband Bill Eichner, funds a DR mountain village school and library where children and adults learn to read. Their library design is that of a “snack bar” library with a convenience window where people can check out books.

    Among Alvarez’ DR children’s titles are — The Best Gift of All: The Legend of La Vieja Belén/El mejor regalo del mundo: la leyenda de La Vieja Belén (2008), illustrated by Rudy Nunez; The Secret Footprints (2000), illustrated by Fabian Negrin; and A Gift of Gracias. The Legend of Altagracia (2005), illustrated by Beatriz Vidal.

    Lists of Alvarez children’s books are at www.juliaalvarez.com. Read more on Café Alta Gracia at http://www.cafealtagracia.com/brochure/literacy.html. Today’s talk was sponsored by the Bread and Roses Center of the Department of Women’s Studies at SDSU in partnership with the Association of Chicana Activists, Eveoke Dance Theatre, and The Cultural Worker.

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