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Tortilla Sun Hardcover – May 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811870154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811870153
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–7—Twelve-year-old Izzy is dismayed to learn that her widowed mother will be finishing her studies in Costa Rica, and that she will spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico. Before she leaves, she uncovers a baseball that belonged to her father. It has a mysterious message scrawled across it, "Because…magic," and, like all things relating to her late husband, Izzy's mother won't explain. Nana warmly welcomes her granddaughter to her remote village, a place that seems frozen in time. Izzy meets Nana's friends and neighbors, learns to make tortillas, and watches her grandmother, a curandera, prepare folk remedies. She also begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her father's life and death. Cervantes's prose is lean and lightly spiced with evocative metaphor. Unfortunately, the plot feels all too familiar: the wise grandmother, the loving mother who refuses to speak of the past, and the melodramatic resolution. The characters are gracefully limned yet fail to rise above convention. This gentle family story may hold appeal for those who have enjoyed the works of Pam Muñoz Ryan and Toby Johnston.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

BOOKLIST
Cervantes first novel is rich with local color-both physical landscapes and traditional spiritual beliefs....this should be popular with readers who enjoyed Sharon Creech's Granny Torrelli Makes Soup (2003) or Pam Mu oz Ryan's Becoming Naomi Leon (2004).

SCHOOL LIBRARY REVIEW
"This gentle family story may hold appeal for those who have enjoyed the works of Pam Mu oz Ryan and Toby Johnston."

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
[A] strong debut....Cervantes fills her story with mystical possibilities-- talking with spirits, hearing what the wind whispers, gathering powerful herbs by moonlight--but also with the inescapable realities of illness, death, and mourning. The result is an imaginative yet grounded novel.

KIRKUS REVIEWS
Cervantes evokes the beauty of the setting and develops a memorable cast of characters, brought to life through Izzy's heartfelt narration. A beautiful and engaging debut novel.


More About the Author

Jennifer was born and raised in San Diego but spent many summers in New Mexico as a child. She didn't think there was much to do there so she made up lots of adventures and read countless books to pass the time. Somehow, she found her way back to New Mexico(temporarily) to attend college and met a great guy, which led her to make New Mexico her home (permanently).

She lives with her husband, and three daughters (who are great editors and sources of inspiration) in New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I eagerly await her next book.
Stephanie DeLuca
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it for adults and kids.
avid reader
Yes, it feels good in your hands!
Michael Kear

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a sweet book about a twelve-year-old girl Izzy who spends the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico while her mother finishes her studies. While she is there, she becomes immersed in the Mexican culture that her mother had surpressed out of grief after the death of her husband. Izzy searches for answers about her father's death and she may find them if she can find the voice in the wind.

I'm always looking for books about the Latino culture and was very happy to have found this one. There is lots of language, food, tradition, folklore, and even superstition that really make the reader feel that he or she has traveled to New Mexico. Middle-grade readers will relate to the character of Izzy and her search for the truth. And they'll love the element of magic in the story. This will be a great addition to my elementary school library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Hudson on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Izzy and her mother have moved more times than she wants to remember. She's just getting settled again when her mom announces she's received a research grant to study in Costa Rica and Izzy will be spending the summer with her nana in New Mexico.

Izzy doesn't know her grandmother very well, and she's not at all happy about being dumped for a couple of months while her mom is gone. But once she arrives at the small adobe village near Albuquerque, magic starts to happen. As Izzy begins to discover more about her family and herself she begins to feel like she may have finally found a place to call home.

Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes weaves a little magic into the story and a lot of magic into readers as the tale unwinds. Izzy's nana has a way with tortillas and a way with people as well. The story of Izzy's parents and her own past slowly comes out in small bites to help her digest it a little bit at a time, and in the process she comes to know and love the people of the village.

Tortilla Sun had me longing to see the Sandia Mountains, feel the warmth of the sun and hear the call of the wind. Bright New Mexico comes as vividly alive as the colors worn by many of its people. This book is recommended for ages 9 to 12, but I think girls up to 14 or 15 may enjoy it too. And the moms are likely to be delighted by Izzy's journey of self-discovery. Issues to discuss include family heritage, ethnic traditions, dealing with grief and finding acceptance.

There's a recipe in the back for tortillas that I can't wait to try, and making them could be a fun mother-daughter book club activity. I highly recommend Tortilla Sun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kear VINE VOICE on July 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My wife and I both loved this great book! As soon as we got it, we knew it had a story to tell us! The dust jacket displayed a beautiful depiction of our native New Mexico with its gorgeous "totilla sun" and its sun-baked adobes and the eager, inquisitive face of the main character. The book itself is a sunny yellow color with a sunface impressed into it the hardcover. Blue stripes and lettering on the spine are pleasing to the eye - as is the general feel of the book. Yes, it feels good in your hands!

My wife writes: "As soon as I opened the book I was pulled into the story with Izzy as my guide and once again I was a young girl on a summer adventure. This story was close to my heart, for in Izzy I could see me! I was tall and gangly with a love for writing stories never finished and a yearning for real magic."

We both love New Mexico, and Jennifer Cervantes' love for our native home comes through in every word with all the color and culture and the aromas that will send you seeking tortillas and honey! What an adventure! Cervantes has wonderfully captured the fun and mystery of a young girl's heart, questing for the truth of her father she never knew - a father her mother never talked about. Along the way Izzy finds magic and a treasure she didn't even know she was looking for.

This is a very rich and satisfying story for people of all ages who are still kids at heart. This is a great addition to any YA library and it has found a permanent place in our New Mexico section next to the Thurlos and Rudolfo Anaya. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C.J. Omololu on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful debut with a pitch-perfect middle-grade voice. Great setting and characters with just a hint of magic that makes it even more special. Jen has created a New Mexico village that makes me want to move there and get to know the people who inhabit it even better.

When Izzy is shipped off to her grandmother's village, she starts to put the pieces of her early life together - how did her father die? Is the baseball she found full of magic? Why does she hear words on the wind? Pick this up and settle in for a quiet and satisfying trip with arresting language and images that are sure to stay with you long after you close the cover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Izzy is the heroine of this story - she spends the summer in New Mexico while her Mom works on her schoolwork. During her time in New Mexico, she learns about the Mexican culture that her Mom never showed her. Izzy looks for information about her Dad, who died earlier, and hopes to find them in the wind voice.

I liked the book, but I didn't like it as much as many other books I have read, even though it was set in New Mexico, which is where my Dad is from. I would read it again, and I think it is an important book for everybody to read.

Lexi, age 8
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