Second Sisters Series Boxed Set uIzzy s mom is distant and they move a lot Her dad died before she was born So when her mother gets a chance to study in Costa Rica for the summer and sends Izzy to live with her grandmother in New Mexico she finally gets a chance to find out about her mother s past and it sheds a great deal of light on who she is and how she lives Her grandmother is warm and open and Izzyickly falls into life in their small Latino community Mysteries paranormal events and an attractive slightly older boy add to the story Most kids in grades 4 and The Bride Wore Scarlet up with find something to like in this book 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 windI m always looking for books with 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 the have traveled to New Mexico This will be a great addition to my elementary school library Izzy has just gotten settled into yet another new home Whilenpacking she comes across a baseball that had belonged to her father It has the words becausemagic on it When she asks her mom about it her mom takes it away ReviewWhat would you do if you were confronted with a mystery about your father and your mother won t talk about it Izzy s mother has always been restless After many moves in California they have just moved again While npacking Izzy comes across her father s old baseball with the mysterious words Because Love written on one side The words between have been rubbed out Her mother has never told Izzy anything about her father except that he died before Izzy was bornIzzy likes to write stories although she seldom gets beyond the beginning Now a new story is buzzing in her mind about the strange words on the baseball Then Izzy learns she is to spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico while her mother finishes research in Costa RicaIn New Mexico Izzy soon steps into another world Her grandmother Nana is an herbalist full pithy wisdoms The Castillos live in part of Nana s house Their son Mateo is Izzy s age When the two become friends Mateo tells Izzy about Socorro the village storyteller who sees the future and a map that tells of hidden treasure And often as life nfolds in the village her mother came from Izzy hears a mysterious whisper carried by the wind that seems to be the voice of her fatherTortilla Sun is a beautiful story of a young girl s search for wisdom and truth and her discovery of her culture The book moves at a leisurely pace that gathers in momentum and mystery with a touch of magic The characters are richly drawn and the village blossoms with life Izzy is a sympathetic protagonist entirely believable To tell why the book is called Tortilla Sun would give away too much of the story and I don t want to be a spoiler This is a book young people will enjoy and read than once I love when a new storytelling talent creates such a beautiful first novel that we re left wondering how they could have possibly been the one behind it as possibly been the one behind it As as I spotted Tortilla Sun on bookstore shelves in 2010 I
instinctively identified it as a contender for the Newbery awards The book s aura was magical and identified it as a contender for the Newbery awards The book s aura was magical and description on the book jacket promised a powerful story if the author executed it well Jennifer Cervantes s ability to come through in that regard was Mirror Image (SWAT: Top Cops unknown but if she could put forth an exceptional inaugural performance I sensed this book would be special Tortilla Sun didn t endp winning recognition *from the Newbery Committee and it took me six years to pick p *the Newbery Committee and it took me six years to pick p book and find out if my preliminary appraisal was accurate but I m happy to say it lived p to my expectations and Jennifer Cervantes s writing is milk and honey dripping from the story s branches a soothing treat for parched throats The tree itself is robust and deeply rooted to draw nourishment from the rich soil of Mexican culture it s planted in but Tortilla Sun is a joy to read for the melody of its prose as much as any strength of plot or character creation like the song of a million crickets on a muggy summer night It s rare to find a novel that approaches Tortilla Sun s ability to enchant s with the sound and rhythm of words and those of Soldiers Pregnancy Protocol us who took a chance on Jennifer Cervantes s first book were blessed by what her talent brought to our lives This is a cuento a story about magic love hope and treasure If you read thisnder the glow of the moon or by the light of the summer sun listen for whispers in any breeze that passes by Then close your eyes and let the cuento take you to where magic still exists and spells of fear and hope are told through the heart of the storyteller from the Prologue to Tortilla Sun It s twelve year old Izzy Roybal and her mother against the world without their father and husband who died before Izzy was born We don t get long to see mother and daughter together before Izzy s mother is called away on a research expedition to Costa Rica but we get a hint that Izzy wishes she knew about her father when she finds a scuffed Behind the Throne (Morgan Crowe Trilogy, up baseball of his in an old box of her mother s belongings a ball with the words Because magic scrawled on it Izzy s mother always shuts down talk of Izzy s father putting it off for another day and it looks like it ll have to wait at leastntil the end of summer now that Izzy s mother is leaving for Costa Rica Izzy travels to New Mexico to stay with her mother s mother Nana in a cozy hamlet steeped in Latino culture and it doesn t take long for Izzy to observe that the town is vastly different from rban California where she and her mother have apartment hopped for years Nana hosts a fiesta to welcome Izzy the first full day she s there inviting dozens of neighbors to her garden estate merry conversation twinkling in evening repose as Izzy meets the village residents Nana s house is roomier than most in the area large enough to service boarders and the Castillos who share the house are the first pe. When twelve year old Izzy discovers a beat p baseball marked with the words Becausemagic while npacking in yet another new apartment she is determined to figure out what it means What secrets does this old ball have to tell Her mom cer. .
Ople Izzy gets to know Thirteen year old Mateo Castillo lives on the other side of the small door off Izzy s bedroom she learns this her first night at Nana s when she hears soft talking and the muted thrum of guitar music beyond the door Izzy meets Mateo at the fiesta and they get along comfortably from go but he s not the only friend she makes at the party Nana s village is populated by interesting people than Izzy could get to know in a single novel and she takes a special liking to a few of them Six year old Maggie stands out from the Latino neighbors with her blonde hair and blue eyes shadowed by her dog Frida a feline who nconvincingly masuerades as a canine Maggie s parents are deceased and she lives with an elderly lady named Gip who has stories to tell about Izzy s father from before he married her mother Izzy s parents were beloved in the village but her mother hasn t returned since Izzy was a baby and Izzy isn t sure why She doesn t know any details of her father s passing either but answers await in the village Is she ready to learn the whole truth The most intriguing village resident is Socorro a lithe woman of indeterminable age who mostly keeps to herself The silver streak in her hair marks Socorro as a soothsayer Mateo A Mighty Big Wish uietly informs Izzy she can glimpse the future and advise those willing to listen but she must be approached with solemnity and respect A seer is not to be lightly regarded Could Socorro tell Izzy what she longs to know about her father As Izzy relaxes into village life for the summer she finds that everyone in these parts knows something about her father She learns of his awesome athletic talent the indomitable love he demonstrated for his new wife and soon to be first child and the details of his heartbreaking death Izzy s father was a baseball star in the making a terror with the bat who was on the brink ofalifying for a Major League roster His young life held nlimited promise before tragedy stole him from his wife and daughter and Izzy wants to know everything about that tragedy even if it hurts Her ties to Nana s community strengthen as friends regale her with stories of her family s past and she finds herself watching over six year old Maggie like a big sister when Gip s wavering health prevents her from taking care of the girl On the verge of learning from Socorro what could have been had her father survived Izzy nintentionally waltzes into another tragedy one she doesn t see coming The Italians Stolen Bride until too late Her relationships with dear friends in the village are sorely tried when Izzy s mistake imperils the life of one as precious to her as her departed father Is history set to repeat in the saddest of ways or will love s magic spare Izzy and her family another traumatic loss that will change the course of their future From the moment she arrives in Nana s village Izzy senses the wind is whispering to her a spiritual companion kept at a distance most of her life but eager to embrace Izzy now It s as though the spirit of lost loved ones is guiding her stepsrging her to connect with Nana Mateo Maggie Gip and Socorro to throw herself into the fiesta of village life and take comfort from a community that adores her so When you know you re The Greek Tycoons Mistress unconditionally loved you can relax and breathe easy letting the stress ofncertainty melt off your body in waves Tortilla Sun is a story of profound wisdom derived from Mexican tradition and that wisdom gives Izzy s heart wings to soar above the heaviness of past sadness We see in Nana s philosophy of color and excitement that life is to be perpetually celebrated CAN THERE BE TOO MUCH LAUGHTER DANCING AND COLOR there be too much laughter dancing and color reacts to Izzy s surprise at the wild array of colors in her house But of course it s colorful Life is color isn t it Color and fun and lovely words and Nana has a place for all three in her home That s why Izzy s bedroom is named Estrella the room with the best view of the stars at night hovering majestically in the firmament Different as Estrella is from her bedroom back home in the city Izzy comes to love it like a member of the family Though she wishes Izzy and her mother had visited years ago Nana Tikki Tikki Tembo understands her daughter s hesitancy to return to the village After the sudden death of her new husband before their first child s birth the village is as much a place of mourning as joy for her now and though she d surely like to mingle again with loved ones plans often don t solidify if a portion of our heart is reluctant Sometimes plans stretch so long and thin that they break and you re left with no plans at all Nana tells Izzy Perhaps by letting Izzy go she s sending a signal that she too may be ready to rejoin the community in the near future Twelve years is a long time to be separated from friends and family Tortilla Sun is chock full of luxurious writing phrases that sound so nice I re read them several times just for the pleasure of it My favorite I felt as though melted chocolate had oozed its way from my heart to my toes coating me with comfort on its way down Oh my yes I ll certainly think on that description from time to time imagining my sweetest moments as a fountain of chocolate gurgling its cacao pathway over my insides salving my heart in delicious flow Of course that might make me hungry The process of storytelling is addressed compellingly in Tortilla Sun focusing on an aspect many impatient consumers forget Readers and viewers of television and movies can be so impatient to get to the good part that writers are forced to set events into motion prematurely to keep their audience content That often mutes the story s power because the triumph of good over evil only has maximum impact if it arrives fortuitously We need time to feel the inevitability of evil s success for it to be a welcome relief if and when the good guys suddenly improbably find an avenue to victory It should feel like such annexpected gift that it leaves laughing and physically trembling in relief
because we genuinely believed wouldn t turnwe genuinely believed it wouldn t turn the way it should How euphoric it is to get a game changing victory after you were certain of doom That s the crux of exceptional story weaving and Nana nderstands it well She could give Izzy all the details of her father s life and death at once but it won t mean as much as it should. Tainly isn't sharing anyespecially when it comes to Izzy's father who died before Izzy was born But when she spends the summer in her Nana's remote New Mexico village Izzy discovers long buried secrets that come alive in an enchanted lan. ,
Summary Tortilla Sun,
Apart from context and that context can only be achieved by Izzy interacting with the villagers who loved her father hearing from them the part of his story they knew and can relate as no one else could It s not dry facts Izzy craves but a true portrait of her father and portraits take time to paint finesse brushstrokes blotting and detail work to reveal what the subject of the portrait meant to its artist Nana ses tomatoes for the analogy as she slices a couple of them for Izzy s lunch All stories are told in due time Just like these needed time to grow on the vine Hoofd in de wolken (Puffin Island until they were ripe Annripe story is like an Twos Company unripe tomato no good at all What impatient consumers of art need to realize is that they can push for storylines to wrapp His Convenient Highland Wedding uickly but all they re getting is annripe tomato A story has to plump on the vine to grow succulent enough for Secret Hideout (Cooper, us to sink our teeth into and enjoy Nana reinforces this concept later when Izzy presses her to reveal too much at one time Remember some stories need to benfolded slowly so we can appreciate what s inside of them Socorro take the same approach to the magic of story and as a soothsayer she knows something about magic You must be very patient to tell stories And you must sit with the idea allowing it to simmer like soup on the stove You wouldn t go to all the trouble of cutting False Family up the ingredients throwing them in the pot and expecting it to cook without fire right Creative artists can learn from these similes about the writing process but so can fans who give in to their own short attention spans and demand the delivery of their entertainment be expedited Writers will concoct better stories and consumers have higherality entertainment to enjoy if everyone slows down and shows patience The payoff is exhillirating Much of Tortilla Sun is Izzy s struggle to wrap her mind around her father s death a calamity that couldn t have affected her mother personally but feels distant to Izzy because it occurred before she took her first breath She wants to know her father well enough to love him but is afraid of how sad she ll feel if she Regency Improprieties understands what she lost It s a conundrum but there are many in Nana s village who would love to help her through it Izzy doesn t see why anyone should die young especially a good man as everyone says her father was but Nana explains that some lives weren t fated to last long Each ofs comes into this life with only a thread of time to live our essence Some threads are shorter than others It s not the length of the thread but the strength of its fiber that determines a life s value a sturdy strand may taper prematurely but it s never going to snap When the end comes for a dear friend of the family while Izzy is living in the village Nana has hopeful words about the future of death we won t endure its sting forever Death sweeps the earth but has no power in el cielo Heaven is where we will really know those we love She is gone only for a short moment Remember that The moment of loss feels interminable when we re left stranded without the reason for our heart s contentment the one who brings meaning to our daily existence but the parting isn t permanent Death is not absolute Nana assures Izzy Yet Izzy is full of estions about her father s passing Is it legitimate for her to
miss him even though they never met Does one ever recover from death to tastehim even though they never met Does one ever recover from death to taste again in spite of missing their loved one so much Nana gives s words of comfort to deal with bereavement a gentle shepherd s staff to guide s forward so we don t get stuck in the muck and mire of grief You will always feel his absence but you can still find joy Like now we are sad but that doesn t mean we can t smile or that life won t ever be normal again You shouldn t feel bad for moments of joy We must find our way back to joy Bit by bit And some of s will find it sooner than others But the final lesson for Izzy is that life cannot break as easily as she fears We may believe it s shattered beyond repair by a tragedy that makes Mistletoe Hero (4 Seasons in Mistletoe us feel like prisoners of our own grief but no catastrophe no matter how agonizing can really destroy our life Socorro conveys this point to Izzy with her truth catcher a talisman Socorro says will reveal to Izzy the truth about her own life and the tragedies that shaped it When the truth catcher is accidentally smashed Izzy despairs of discovering the truth she s waited twelve years for but Socorro isn t concerned The truth has a habit of appearing one way or another and the talisman s broken condition isn t as fatal to itssefulness as Izzy assumes You know mija sometimes we need to see things from a different point of view You are still looking at the truth catcher as a whole But you see it has only changed shapes Try not to see the truth catcher as you think it should be Instead study two pieces at a time to see if or how they connect That s how you will remake it We crack like glass nder the relentless pressure of tragedy and can never be glued back together perfectly the fractures will always be visible But our truths hopes and dreams have merely assumed new shape and we can benefit as much from them as we did before if we re able to reconcile ourselves to a little brokenness We can divine the truth even after our catcher shatters There s still a wonderful life to be
*pieced back together *back together lived with thankfulness and joy 2011 was a year of spectacular candidates for the Newbery awards but I feel justified saying Tortilla Sun is superior to all four Honor books selected by the Committee I think it s at least as good as Clare Vanderpool s Moon Over Manifest which won the 2011 Newbery Medal What a blissful experience Tortilla Sun is the confection of the words melting on one s tongue like ice cream awakening the senses with its flavor aroma and texture Few books are as sensuously
ENJOYABLE AS THIS ONE WHICH IS SOMEWHAT SURPRISING FORas this one which is somewhat surprising for novel that deals so frankly with death If all authors could write like Jennifer Cervantes the world would be packed with enthusiastic readers I give Tortilla Sun three and a half stars and considered rounding p to four and I believe I ve found a new nderrated book to recommend to those who have yet to be wooed by its velvety voice Thank you Jennifer Cervantes for a treasure like Tortilla Sun I love Dscape of watermelon mountains whispering winds and tortilla suns Infused with the flavor of the southwest and sprinkled with just a pinch of magic this heartfelt middle grade debut is as rich and satisfying as Nana's homemade enchiladas. .