Tía Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey

Knopf. Jan. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593172414.
K-Gr 3–Estrella’s favorite aunt, Tia Fortuna, left Cuba years ago and now lives in Miami. Estrella loves visiting Tia Fortuna and hearing stories about her life and their shared heritage as Sephardic Jews. Their peripatetic ancestors originated in Spain, went on to Turkey, and then settled in Cuba. When she left Cuba, after Castro came to power, Tia Fortuna took the key to her Cuban casita, as Sephardic legends encourage, and wore it around her neck as a sign of hope going forward. Now Tia Fortuna is leaving Seaway, her Miami home, to go to a house for the aged. She makes friends immediately as she shares the borekas she made for old and new friends and settles right in. Before Estrella leaves, Tia Fortuna gives her the key to Seaway, continuing the tradition of hope, and Estrella knows Tia Fortuna will be just fine. Spanish words are embedded throughout, and the fullness of the text supports their meaning. A fabulous glossary in the back matter will answer any questions that arise. This powerful intergenerational story is enhanced by stunning art created with gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil. The palette establishes a sense of place, reminiscent of the Caribbean and Florida and serves as an anchor to the text.
VERDICT This is beautiful story about heritage and hope, a must for all libraries, and remarkable in every way.

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