Mott Haven resident pens children’s book
BY JASON COHEN
Laura Alvarez has spent her life
drawing, painting, singing, dancing
and designing. Never in her wildest
dreams did she imagine writing a children’s
Yet, in 2015, the Mott Haven resident
began working on “Eggie’s Adventures
at Poe Cottage,” a picture book that
seeks to encourage curiosity about the
Edgar Allan Poe Museum, located on
Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse
in the Fordham section, and
named for the famous writer and poet
who lived in the borough around the
“I think it is very important to cultivate
a sense of pride about our neighborhoods,”
Alvarez said. “The Edgar Allan
Poe Museum is a staple for tourists, but for
the local population it is just a little landmark
cottage at the edge of Poe Park. The
goal of this book is to engage the imaginations
of locals and tourists alike about the
history of Edgar Allan Poe and the Edgar
Allan Poe Museum.”
And it was Alvarez’s experiences
working on the Poe grounds that shaped
her inspiration for the book.
Now that she is about wrapped up
with the book, Alvarez is seeking fi nancial
assistance to help with her efforts
to self-publish. In July, she launched
a kickstarter campaign that runs
through Thursday. So far, it has raised
more than $5,000, which will allow her
to distribute the book by November.
Surrounded by art growing up, Alvarez,
40, was born in Valencia, Spain. Her
mom, Mercedes is an artist, and her father,
Marcelino, plays the piano.
In 2009, Alvarez moved to the U.S. Living
into the Bronx was quite an adjustment,
especially the distance between
places, she said. But over time, she grew
used to her surroundings while juggling
many jobs, including as an illustrator,
muralist, community activist and educator.
“I like the Bronx community,” she
said. “I’ve always felt at home since I
came, and they accepted me.”
Since moving here, her main employment
has been with the city Parks
BRONX TIMES REPORTER, A 18 UG. 27-SEPT. 2, 2021 BTR
Department for the last nine years.
During that time, she spent part of it
teaching art at the Poe Park Visitor Center
from 2013-2015. It was there where
“Eggie’s Adventures at Poe Cottage”
Primwatee Groover, a writing
teacher at the facility, suggested to Alvarez
that with her artistic mind she could
write a book. She didn’t think much of
it, but as time wore on acclimated to the
idea. Groover explained how to structure
the story, to give the characters obstacles
and how there needs to be a positive
ending, Alvarez said.
“A lot of my illustrations are stories in
one image,” she said.
So, with her love for nature and Poe
Park, Alvarez began to write her book.
The story is about a little squirrel named
Eggie who is interested in the history of Poe
Cottage. He learns that his great grandfather
was Edgar Allan Poe’s best friend,
which makes him want to be a helper to
Neil, who is the caretaker of the house. Instead
of helping, he keeps getting into trouble;
until the day when Neil goes to the city
and completely forgets he had a group of
children coming to visit the cottage.
Eggie steps up and saves the day. Thus,
the story is about not only the history of
the cottage, but persistence.
Alvarez began writing it six years ago
but it sat mostly idle on her desk until COVID
19 arrived in 2020.
“I always found something else to
work on before my own work,” she said.
“During the pandemic, I decided I wanted
to fi nish it.”
She told the Bronx Times that the writing
was surprisingly easy, but the illustrations
were the toughest part.
Alvarez pointed out that publishing
and distributing the book on her own is
quite costly. She applied for and received a
small grant from the Bronx Council of the
Arts, which will help pay for some printing.
But the kickstarter will fund most of
Looking ahead, she hopes to turn Eggie’s
adventures into a series.
“I really never thought I could write
that much,” she said. “It felt really good to
fi nish the book.”
Laura Alvarez, author and illustrator of “Eggie’s Adventures at Poe Cottage.”
Photos courtesy Laura Alvarez
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