Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tortilla Sun: A great NEW Latino children's book for middle elementary

Tortilla Sun. Jennifer Cervantes. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2010. 224 pp. $16.99 (Hardcover). ISBN 978-0-8118-7015-3. Grades 3-6. English with some Spanish.

Twelve-year-old Izzy is not happy when her mother ships her off to her Nana’s rural village in New Mexico for the summer while she pursues her doctoral studies in Costa Rica. Having moved from place to place most of her life, Izzy just wants to spend her summer at her newest home in San Diego and plant roots. What she doesn't know is that her real roots are actually in her Nana’s village along with answers to her million questions about her dad who died just before Izzy was born. Filled with magic, memorable characters, good home-cooking, a little romance, and a cat who thinks she’s a dog, this is one summer cuento that middle elementary children will not want to miss. The particular strength of this book is its appeal to children in grades 3-6 as there are very few fiction titles about Latinos for this age group outside Gary Soto’s books. Suffused with magical realism and the sabor of the Mexican American culture, the book also includes a recipe for making your own tortilla sun. Recommended.