Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tortilla Sun” as Want to Read:
Tortilla Sun
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tortilla Sun

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  334 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
When twelve-year-old Izzy discovers a beat-up baseball marked with the words "Becausemagic" while unpacking 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 certainly isn't sharing anyespecially when it comes to Izzy's father, who died before Izzy was born. But when she spends the summer in h ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 5th 2010 by Chronicle Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tortilla Sun, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Apanakhi Buckley Absolutely! Here's what one of my college students said about the book, "Finding out where you come from will make you understand who you are and…moreAbsolutely! Here's what one of my college students said about the book, "Finding out where you come from will make you understand who you are and where you belong. Just like Izzy [in Tortilla Sun] when she knew all about her father, every puzzle piece came together and learning about her heritage made her feel she belonged." I strongly recommend it to young adult and middle level readers.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 17, 2016 Josiah rated it liked it
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 soon 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 the 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 unknown, but if she co ...more
Elizabeth Varadan
Jan 15, 2012 Elizabeth Varadan rated it it was amazing


What 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 unpacking, 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 born.

Izzy likes to wr
Cindy Hudson
Jul 23, 2010 Cindy Hudson rated it it was amazing
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
Sandra Stiles
Oct 31, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
Izzy has just gotten settled into yet another new home. While unpacking she comes across a baseball that had belonged to her father. It has the words because...magic on it. When she asks her mom about it her mom takes it away and puts it up. Izzy gets the ball back out and then learns the next morning that her mother has received a grant to finish up her studies in Costa Rica. She is sending Izzy to New Mexico to stay with her nana. She is not thrilled about this. However when she arrives she fe ...more
Cathe Olson
Aug 02, 2010 Cathe Olson rated it really liked it
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 with Latino culture and was very happy to have found this one. There
Jun 16, 2010 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 10 and up, read aloud, families, classrooms
Recommended to Claire by: Chronicle
Izzy is preparing to settle into a new apartment for the summer. She is going through a box one morning and sees a baseball that must have belonged to her father. Her mom just cannot face her husband's death (even after 12 years) and hides the ball.
Now, really curious, Izzy finds and stashes the ball so her mom won't see it.
Unexpectedly a grant comes through for Mom to study in Costa Rica and Izzy must go visit her Nana in New Mexico. Izzy really does not want to do this but is given no choice
Judi Paradis
Jan 18, 2015 Judi Paradis rated it liked it
Izzy'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 Izzy quickly falls into life in their small Latino community. Mysteries, paranormal events, and an attractive slightly-olde ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Tanja rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written story I simply loved! While reading, I kept highlighting favorite quotes. As 12year old Izzy discovered the secret about her past amd the magic of her grandmother's village in New Mexico while spending the summer there, the magic of the story captured me, taking me on an emotional ride that brought tears of sorrow and joy to my eyes. A heartwarming story around family and friendship and about finding the courage to deal with the past, to heal and allow the joy back into one ...more
Edward Sullivan
Dec 18, 2010 Edward Sullivan rated it liked it
An impressive debut--a beautifully written, gentle family story though the plot does seem a bit derivative of other stories of this kind.
Sep 25, 2010 Julianne rated it really liked it
Great debut novel - enchanting and magical. But beware, it will make you hungry!
Sep 15, 2012 Meredith rated it it was ok
2.5, actually. I was totally on board until the visit to Socorro and the gobbledygook about seeing the truth. Then there was just too much schmoopiness and annoying fatalism.

I did like the idea of Izzy's story cards ... could have students write their own beginnings and then have others continue them? Could also develop a lesson on famous first lines, the power of a hook ... relate to music as well. Although I am now so decrepit, the kids probably won't recognize any of the songs that would firs
This was a wonderful story of a girl without a sense of place or even of family. Her father died before her birth, and her mother, after moving to CA from NM, has never settled in one place long enough for Izzy to put down roots. When a grant for her mother to complete her research comes through at the last moment, Izzy is sent to NM to spend the summer with her grandmother, who she hasn't seen in 6 or 7 years. What she discovers about her family and herself makes for a magical story.
Erin Sterling
A sweet, coming-of-age story about a girl who has to go live with her grandmother in New Mexico while her mother does graduate work in Costa Rica and learns the magic of a small, tight-knit community and uncovers some details about her past and how her father died. The story flowed well and the characters were warm and loving. My only complaint is that the village life seemed a little *too* idyllic, even the tragic bits.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
If you read this book, have a box of tissues ready. I plan on posting a longer review but want to think about this a little more. I will say that I loved having a story featured around Latino characters and celebrating the Latino heritage and culture. I would like to use this as a read aloud with my fifth graders this year. Very powerful message.

See my full review on:
Jun 26, 2010 Melissa rated it it was amazing
This should be the next Newbery winner!

My journey through the story touched something bigger in my soul. I love Young Adult books and read at least one a week. But, I haven't read one like Tortilla Sun that touched me so deeply since Return to Sender by Alvarez or Star Girl by Spinelli. my full review will be up on Monday June 28, 2010.
Jan 08, 2011 Olivia rated it it was amazing
I have only 4 words. I LOOOOVVVEEEE THIS BOOK!!!!!! I didn't quite like it ( I guess ) in the beguinning ,but then I just loved it for the next week that I read it. This is a book anyone could enjoy!!! It is amazingly great!!
Jun 26, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it
One Sentence Review: I might not be the biggest fan of some of the more touchy feely emotional moments in the book, but the writing of Ms. Cervantes rang true for me in this interesting new novel.
Sep 25, 2010 Freya rated it it was amazing
For every one of us that longs to believe in magic.
Nov 04, 2010 marie rated it really liked it
What a beautiful book.
Kimberly Hill
May 09, 2015 Kimberly Hill rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Awaiting for Jennifer's next book.
Nov 26, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Very sweet.
Linnea Hendrickson
Jun 09, 2011 Linnea Hendrickson rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written, charming story with an authentic New Mexican setting.
Jenny Wheelbarrow
Dec 29, 2016 Jenny Wheelbarrow rated it really liked it
Juvenile fiction with a multicultural theme. I loved Izzy and her grandmother. I did not like her mom as I felt she was leaving her behind, but as the story developed you learned Izzy's mom was trying to forget a sad past that she had not shared with Izzy and becomes a likable, peripheral character.

Izzy's grandmother takes Izzy in for the summer while Izzy's mom completes research. Her grandmother promises to tell Izzy everything, but in portions and not all at once. As Izzy meets new people th
Nov 15, 2016 Skip rated it really liked it
Recommended to Skip by: Josiah
A middle school reader about a young girl Izzy, who is shipped off to spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico so her mother can continue her research in Costa Rica. Izzy is drawn into her Latin roots, makes some young friends, has to deal with some trauma as well as discovering why her mother has been so reluctant to discuss her deceased husband. The town storyteller, Socorro, also adds a bit of mystery to the whole story. Enjoyable read. Worthwhile addition to school libraries too.
Oct 14, 2016 Ginger rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I liked the cover, and I'm glad I did.
Kristina Miranda
Mar 14, 2013 Kristina Miranda rated it really liked it
The only thing twelve-year old Izzy knows about her father is that he died before she was born. Moving from place to place with her mother in San Diego, Izzy yearns to finally settle down. While unpacking yet another box, Izzy finds an old baseball with some hand-written words on it, and suspects it belonged to her father. Her mother refuses to talk about it, and sends Izzy to spend the summer in a small pueblo in New Mexico with her grandmother. Izzy secretly brings the baseball with her, deter ...more
Twelve-year-old Izzy and her mother have moved from one San Diego neighborhood to another several times during her short life. Consequently, Izzy feels rather rootless and disconnected from the rest of her family. She happens upon a baseball with a couple of words on it, and wonders what the words, probably written by her father, mean. When her mother must spend the summer in Costa Rica for her studies, she sends Izzy to stay with her maternal grandmother in New Mexico. Izzy is resentful and con ...more
Teresa Scherping
Izzy and her mom live in California, but they've moved around so much that Izzy's never had anywhere to really call "home" before. But now that her mom has a work assignment far away, Izzy is spending the summer with her Latina grandma in her mom's tiny hometown in New Mexico. Izzy hopes to find out more about her dad, who died before she was born. She also wants to know why an old baseball of his has the words "because magic" written on it. Izzy discovers right away that this New Mexico town is ...more
Oct 24, 2012 heidi rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, reviewed, mid-grade
This is one of those books that recognizes that children have real experiences and hard things in their life, without becoming a Problem Book.

Izzy's dad died before she was born, and her mom loves her very much, but moves her around a lot. This summer, her mom is heading out to do research and Izzy is stuck visiting her grandmother for the summer. The horror!

The story continues along, unfolding prettily. There is magic in the world, and especially in the little village. Izzy wins races, learns t
Teresa Garrett
Izzy, from Los Angeles, is being sent to spend the summer with her grandmother in a small New Mexico village while her mother is in Costa Rica completing research for her PhD. Izzy takes her father's baseball with her hoping to find the answers to his death while visiting his home town. Izzy has had limited contact with her grandmother up until now and finds it awkward to have to stay with her. Her grandmother is thrilled beyond words for the chance to get to know her only granddaughter. Right a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
wonderful setting 1 7 Jun 23, 2010 10:03AM  
  • The Red Umbrella
  • The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
  • Jake
  • Eighth-Grade Superzero
  • Strawberry Hill
  • Amelia's Road
  • Ruby Lu, Star of the Show
  • The Last Newspaper Boy in America
  • Wildfire Run
  • Animal House
  • How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog)
  • Dancing Home
  • Leaving Gee's Bend
  • The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini
  • The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt
  • Penny Dreadful
  • The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams
  • The Wonder of Charlie Anne
"Sometimes you can't see the magic. You just know it's there because you can feel it."

I am the author of the
middle grade novel TORTILLA SUN.

"Cervantes's prose is lean and lightly spiced with evocative metaphor." School Library Journal

"An imaginative, yet grounded novel." Publishers Weekly

"A beautiful and engaging debut novel." Kirkus

Tortilla Sun -- When twelve-year-old Izzy discovers a beat-up b

More about Jennifer Cervantes...

Share This Book

“I felt as though melted chocolate had oozed its way from my heart to my toes, coating me with comfort on its way down.” 1 likes
“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 up the ingredients, throwing them in the pot and expecting it to cook without fire, right?” 0 likes
More quotes…