Tía Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey by Ruth Behar, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Tía Fortuna's New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey: Behar, Ruth, Holzwarth,  Devon: 9780593172414: Amazon.com: Books
El nuevo hogar de Tía Fortuna: Una historia judía-cubana (Spanish Edition):  Behar, Ruth, Holzwarth, Devon: 9780593381069: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  The narrator loves visiting her tía Fortuna’s casita at the Seaway.  But now the Seaway is being torn down, and tía Fortuna is moving.  The girl helps her aunt pack a small suitcase, bake some warm borekas, and say goodbye to the beach.  As they work, tía talks a little about their ancestors who came from Spain and traveled to Turkey, Cuba, and finally, Miami.  Then Mommy arrives to take them to La Casa de los Viejitos, where they help tía get settled in her room.  She immediately starts handing out borekas and making new friends. Tia gives the girl a key from the Seaway that she can wear around her neck to remember the home they both loved.  Includes an author’s note with additional information about Sephardic Jews and her connection to them, and a glossary of words from the story in other languages.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A warm story of a loving intergenerational relationship with information woven in about a culture I knew nothing about.  The illustrations do a great job of showing some of the items mentioned that kids may not be familiar with, and the colors evoke Miami and Cuba.  The author’s note is helpful in understanding the story better.

Cons: La Case de los Viejitos isn’t translated, so kids will have to use some inference skills to figure out that tia Fortuna is moving to a retirement home.

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