On November 12, 2019, Holland, Michigan, was hit by a major blizzard that rendered 800 middle and high school students unable to meet Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and Before We Were Free. Prior to the fall of 2019, I had never heard of Julia Alvarez. Now, I am on a mission to read every single one of her books. Not only is Julia a talented and awarded author, but she is a butterfly. Julia graciously offered to do a virtual author visit out of the kindness of her heart. Thanks to the director of the Big Read and Little Read Lakeshore programs, Deborah Van Duinen, those 800 middle and high school students got their chance to meet Julia Alvarez.
For all the individuals unable to attend or for those who want to reminisce over this magical experience, here is a summary of one of the highlights from Julia Alverez’s virtual author visit.
Julia titled her presentation “Hope Springs Eternal: A Time for Butterflies.” What is a butterfly? Butterfly is a theme in the novel In the Time of the Butterflies, and it was the theme of her virtual visit. So what does Julia mean when she says that now is especially a time for butterflies? Butterflies are a symbol of liberation, courage, and standing up for the most vulnerable. Butterflies are a symbol of the soul. They represent the good in all of us. Butterflies connect us.
During this time, it is easy to become discouraged. It is understandable. That is why now more than ever, it is a time for butterflies. Now is a time to focus on the butterflies that are taking off!
Butterflies are easy to miss. You do not notice them unless you look. They are a silent beauty. They flutter past eyes staring at phone screens. They rest motionless in backyard gardens. If you take a moment to look around, you will see them. You will see their elegant beauty.
Butterflies are easy to miss, and so are butterfly moments. A butterfly moment is an encouraging sign, a kind police officer handing out pizzas to the impoverished, or healthy individuals wearing masks to protect those at risk.
Here at the Big Read we do not want these extraordinary butterfly moments to go unnoticed. We would love to see the butterfly moments you have been coming across. Send us pictures of your butterfly moments via Instagram or email; you will find this information at the end of this post.
Need examples of butterfly moments? Here are a few I have captured from around my town:
Written by Abigail Knoner, Abigail is a sophomore at Hope College studying social studies for secondary education. Abigail has a passion for storytelling and would like to rely on stories when she has a classroom of her own one day. Whenever Abigail gets a chance, she spends time in nature or paints. Her favorite book is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.