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A Cafecito Story Hardcover – October 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1931498005 ISBN-10: 1931498008 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...highly recommended as being and intriguing blend of sparse writing, specific images, and involving discussions." -- Library Bookwatch, April 2003

"Eichner and Alvarez tell a complex story without being preachy or heavy-handed. They intend to inspire, and they do." -- HippoPress, Manchester

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation)
Original Language: English --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company; First Edition edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931498008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931498005
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julia Alvarez has bridged the Americas many times. Born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic, she is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist, author of world-renowned books in each of the genres, including How the García Girls Lost their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, and Something to Declare. She lives on a farmstead outside Middlebury, Vermont, with her husband Bill Eichner. Visit Julia's Web site here to find out more about her writing.

Julia and Bill own an organic coffee farm called Alta Gracia in her native country of the Dominican Republic. Their specialty coffee is grown high in the mountains on what was once depleted pastureland. Not only do they grow coffee at Alta Gracia, but they also work to bring social, environmental, spiritual, and political change for the families who work on their farm. They use the traditional methods of shad-grown coffee farming in order to protect the environment, they pay their farmers a fair and living wage, and they have a school on their farm where children and adults learn to read and write. For more information about Alta Gracia, visit their website.

Belkis Ramírez, who created the woodcuts for A Cafecito Story, is one of the most celebrated artists in the Dominican Republic.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "hall1118" on November 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This simple story of a man, a new life, and a family struggling to survive and to be literate was moving to me. The lovely illustrations are woodcuts by Belkis Ramirez, an artist from the Dominican Republic. Also, as a rabid coffee lover, it brought back memories of rich aromatic coffee in cafes in Guatemala and Mexico. I recommend this book for anyone who is trying to live her or his life deliberately, trying to help with sustainable agriculture, and trying to make a difference in small but vital ways to a more balanced global economy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By guadalupano on June 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up purley by chance. It was on a featured book table at my local library. I don't normaly real a lot of fiction but something made me check it out. I brought it home and started reading it the next morning while having my morning coffee. Theres something in the author's writing style that just makes you want to read more and more. I will most deffinently be purchasing this book and cherishing it forever. Thank you Julia Alvarez!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JEK86 on March 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
A Cafecito Story is written by the well-known author, Julia Alvarez. It is a story about finding yourself and finding what will truly make you happy in life. The story is about a young man named Joe. Joe was born and raised in a small town in Nebraska. The town was a farming town so Joe grew up learning how to be a farmer. Joe's father was his most influential role model. Joe's father taught him the values of life. Joe wanted to be as loving and as good a farmer as his father was one day. As time goes by, the farm's business begins to fall. The farm must be put up for sale. Joe was sad when the farm was sold because it was the place he had grown up in. It was his home. When Joe becomes older he becomes a schoolteacher, meets and falls in love with a woman and gets married to this woman and also moves to Omaha. As time goes by, the marriage begins to fail. Feeling lost and confused, Joe plans a trip to the Dominica Republic at Christmas time. Joe just wanted to get away from his everyday life so that he could think about the way his life was going. After Joe had arrived in the Dominican Republic, one morning he was having a cup of coffee. A random woman told him that she could predict his future by looking at the stains in his coffee cup. The woman tells Joe that he will begin a new life in the mountains with the natives of the land. After hearing this, Joe decides to take a trip to the mountains. While in the mountains he stays with a family that reminds him of his own. This family owns a coffee farm. While staying with this family, Joe learns of the struggles that these people go through everyday of their lives. He soon learns that the family is going to have to sell their beloved coffee farm to a large industry that will make more coffee in less time and in turn make more money.Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Julia Alvarez creates a rousing literary work in both Spanish and English with A Cafecito Story, the engrossing story of a Nebraska farmer's boy who becomes a teacher and eventually finds his life changed by a sojourn to the Dominican Republic. A Cafecito Story is highly recommended as being an intriguing blend of sparse writing, specific images, and involving discussions.
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Format: Paperback
While perusing an independent bookstore in Pasadena, CA, I discovered *A Cafecito Story* in between two giant tomes of little interest; but somehow, this slime volume caught my eye and then my interest as I read the back cover and flipped through the book to see the wonderful woodcuts by Belkis Ramírez.

This is the simple story of Joe, the son of a farmer in Nebraska. Disaffected by the direction of farming as the corporations buy up family farms - including his families when his father is forced to sell a large part of the land to pay the bills - and the ruin this brings to the local economies, Joe decides farming is not for him. He moves to the city, marries a city girl, becomes a teacher, divorces the city girl, and at 40 finds himself near burnout and realizing that he can't even enjoy a cup of coffee. So, he decides to take a vacation.

His travels and budget land him at a resort in the Dominican Republic; but, soon he is bored with sitting by the pool and the sterility of resort protected behind walls and guards from the population of the land. At the recommendation of one of the resort's employees, Joe visits the mountains and the coffee farm of the employee's relative. Here is where Joe's life changes forever.

This semi-autobiographical novella by Julia Alvarez (writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and who was born in the Domincan Republic) is a metaphor for the discovery that the author and her husband made while visiting the place of her birth. It is also the story of how people can change the way things are done for the better and in the course of it all begin to change the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate Lewandowski on March 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book A Cafecito Story by Julia Alvarez is about a journey of a man named Joe. Joe worked with his father on their farm in Nebraska for most of his life early life before his father had to sell it. After his father sold the farm he found work as a schoolteacher where he was very unhappy. Joe thought that he needed some change so he decided to take a trip to the Dominican Republic. While on his trip he went to a café where he met a women who tells Joe about his life and future. She says that she sees him having a new life in the mountains. After hearing this Joe takes a trip to the mountains where the excellent coffee beans are made. There he meets Miguel and his family who farms coffee beans the old way. Joe learns about the family and all their struggles they have to go through everyday to make a living and to stay alive. Miguel is having trouble producing coffee fast enough because all the larger companies can produce more of it and do in less time. Miguel is forced to sell some land. Joe not only buys some land and learns how to farm coffee, but he also teaches the family to read so they can pass on there legacy of how to produce the coffee bean. Joe learns how much work goes into making a good cup of coffee. Joe is also happy because like his father he is working on a farm making his own living. As time goes on many other small time farmers join the pact of the little farmers which allows all the little farmers to keep their farms running. Joe takes a chance and lives out his dream of doing what his father once did. I think that this book shows how even though you may be the little guy you can accomplish anything. I also think that this book teaches people that they can do anything if they are dedicated and put their minds to it. I liked the book because not only did it teach some important lessons, but also I could imagine myself in the situation very easily. It was not a hard read and was rather enjoyable.
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