Tortilla Sun

( 6 )

Overview

When twelve-year-old Izzy spends the summer in her Nana's remote New Mexico village, she discovers long-buried secrets that come alive in an enchanted landscape of majestic mountains, whispering winds, and tortilla suns. Infused with the flavor of the southwest and sprinkled with just a pinch of magic, readers are sure to find this heartfelt story as rich and satisfying as Nana's homemade enchiladas.

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Tortilla Sun

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Overview

When twelve-year-old Izzy spends the summer in her Nana's remote New Mexico village, she discovers long-buried secrets that come alive in an enchanted landscape of majestic mountains, whispering winds, and tortilla suns. Infused with the flavor of the southwest and sprinkled with just a pinch of magic, readers are sure to find this heartfelt story as rich and satisfying as Nana's homemade enchiladas.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this strong debut, Cervantes relies on the tried-and-tried recipe of a preadolescent forced to spend summer in an unfamiliar environment, but spices it up with a dash of magical realism and a vibrant New Mexico landscape. Twelveyear-old Izzy, whose father died before she was born, is sent to live with her grandmother while her mother completes a research project. An aspiring writer, Izzy is haunted by the mystery of her father's death and frustrated by her mother's refusal to talk about him. Once in her parents' native village, she begins to find answers to her questions about his life and death-- and her own birth. Colorful characters-- an orphaned six-year-old girl; a prophetic storyteller; a handsome 13-year-old neighbor--accompany Izzy on her quest for her heritage; mouthwatering descriptions of her grandmother's culinary gifts waft tantalizingly through the tale. 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. Ages 8-12. (June)
From the Publisher
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.

Children's Literature - Heather N. Kolich
Twelve-year old Izzy is a struggling author and unwilling nomad who knows nothing of her father except that he died before she was born. Izzy's mother won't talk about him. They've just unpacked their belongings in yet another apartment when Izzy finds a baseball that belonged to her father, sporting part of a mysterious message. Before she can ask about it, Izzy gets packed off alone to spend the summer with a grandmother she can't remember in a place she's never been. The New Mexico village is a welcoming, colorful place with a wind that speaks to Izzy. As the weeks pass, Izzy learns bits and pieces about her father and forms strong bonds with her grandmother; Maggie, a little orphaned girl who becomes part of the family; and Mateo, a thirteen-year-old neighbor. But the end of her stay is near, and Izzy is impatient to learn the whole story about her father. She begs the village storyteller for a spell that lets people talk with ghosts. Izzy convinces Mateo to come with her on her midnight journey to the river to recite the spell, and little Maggie secretly follows. Stormy weather and Izzy's temper send her and Maggie plunging into the raging river. Izzy's supernatural request is answered, but the cost is dear. Can Izzy pull Maggie out of the coma? Can she forgive her mother for her secrecy? Can she find a home at last? The story unfolds gently, slowly, grippingly, with laughter and tears, plain food and supernatural seasonings for healing hurting souls. The hard-covered, almost-square book feels easy in the hand and stays open where you ask, revealing a story of family, friendship and belonging that begs to be read. Reviewer: Heather N. Kolich
School Library Journal
Gr 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452131504
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 163,857
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Cervantes lives with her family in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Tortilla Sun is her first novel for children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Awsome

    I am 10 and i am in 4th grade and when i saw this book it was amazing. I did not know what was going to happen but i took it out anyway. But when i read almost the first chapter i frecan loved it. My brother was telling me it looks like mexicans but i did not care. I still did not finish the book but i think it takes place in mexico scinince i am a diabetec my name is emma i always test so when i was testing i got blood all over my book. I love the book.






    Great book i ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    This is a onder This book is wonderful

    I bought it for my fiance's daughter. I read it one rainy spring afternoon. I am over 40. I am not stupid but i cannot work nook keys well. I just love this story and believe Cervantes should win awards of all kinds. Great for all ages.









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    Posted June 26, 2010

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    Posted October 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2010

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