A Gift of Gracias
The Legend of Altagracia
a picture book
by Julia Alvarez
with illustrations by Beatriz Vidal,
Spanish edition with translation by Liliana Valenzuela
(Knopf Book for Young Readers, October 2005)
see this book on Amazon.com:
en español: hardcover *
or you may be able to get an
autographed copy at Vermont Book Shop
Often in bookstores and libraries, I've searched the shelves for a book about the Dominican "protector of the people," La Virgen de la Altagracia. I came across many books about La Virgen de Guadalupe. I also found books and entries in books about Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of Lourdes, and many of the myriad virgencitas worshipped throughout Latin America and Europe. But I found nothing on our own protectora. And so, I made a promesa to La Virgencita de la Altagracia, after whom I am named (Julia Altagracia) that I would write a book about her.
Finally, here it is, A Gift of Gracias: the Legend of Altagracia. I took the basic legend and wove a story which I hope you (and La Virgencita) will like. I love that her name means "high grace" or "high thanks." There is a very special grace that comes from gratitude, from saying thank you, from wanting to spread the grace of our gifts wherever we find ourselves. So thank you, readers, for giving my books life by reading them. And thank you, Beatriz Vidal, for the splendid illustrations which help make my story more than it could be all by its lonely self in black and white print!
The book was simultaneously published in English and Spanish. Un regalo de gracias: la leyenda de la Altagracia has been wonderfully translated by Liliana Valenzuela, who has also translated The Secret Footprints, Before We Were Free, and How Tía Lola Came to
Visit Stay into Spanish. Her translation of Finding Miracles, En busca de milagros came out fall 2005.