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

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  79 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.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 730)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Judi Paradis
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
Elizabeth Varadan


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
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
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
Jun 16, 2010 Claire rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Cathe Olson
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
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
An impressive debut--a beautifully written, gentle family story though the plot does seem a bit derivative of other stories of this kind.
Great debut novel - enchanting and magical. But beware, it will make you hungry!
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
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!!
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.
Beautifully written and emotionally engaging story of a young girl discovering her family history and heritage. The Hispanic community in an adobe village in New Mexico is vividly portrayed with delightful characters. Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

p. 214 "Sometimes we long for what the world tells us is missing, and miss what is right in front of us."

p. 138 " 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 wo
Linnea Hendrickson
This is a beautifully written, charming story with an authentic New Mexican setting.
For every one of us that longs to believe in magic.
What a beautiful book.
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
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
Kristina Miranda
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
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
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes is a delightful book that is full of beautiful imagery. Very good for a debut novel. The first few chapters were a little slow, but once the action picked up, it never slowed down. I recommend it for anyone who likes Mexican food (especially tortillas), magic, or a spellbinding story.
Izzy is sent to spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico. She doesn't know her grandmother or extended family very well and she isn't happy about her summer plans. She does hope to get some answers about her father who died before she was born. The thing that I really liked about this book was the setting. It takes place in New Mexico and the author does a good job of making the place come alive with the descriptions of the landscape as well as the delicious meals they ate.
Libby Ames
Izzy Roybal is used to her life of constantly moving from place to place with just her mother. She wonders about her father who died before she was born, but knows her mother refuses to discuss the topic. However, Izzy’s life begins to change when she spends the summer with her Nanna in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the town where her mother was born and her father and mother met, Izzy catches glimpses of their past and the mystery surrounding her father’s death. Talking to long time residents of ...more
Stephanie Tournas
Twelve-year-old Izzy doesn't understand why her mom won't tell her more about her dad, who died before she was born. Then her mom sends her to spend the summer with her Nana, in the village where her mom grew up. At first Izzy feels abandoned, but then realizes that this summer may be a way to discover long-lost secrets about her parents.

Sweet, with a little bit of magic.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
wonderful setting 1 7 Jun 23, 2010 10:03AM  
  • The Red Umbrella
  • The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
  • Jake
  • Strawberry Hill
  • Animal House
  • How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog)
  • Eighth-Grade Superzero
  • The Wonder of Charlie Anne
  • Laugh with the Moon
  • Papá and Me
  • The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini
  • The Last Newspaper Boy in America
  • Wildfire Run
  • Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)
  • The Mixquiahuala Letters
  • Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything
  • The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams
  • Operation Yes
"Sometimes you can't see the magic. You just know it's there because you can feel it."

I am the author of the newly released 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 discov

More about Jennifer Cervantes...

Share This Book