Review of Tía Fortuna’s New Home

Tía Fortuna’s New Home Tía Fortuna’s New Home
by Ruth Behar; illus. by Devon Holzwarth
Primary    Knopf    32 pp.    g
1/22    978-0-593-17241-4    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-593-17242-1    $20.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-17243-8    $10.99

Estrella’s tía Fortuna must leave her casita in Miami’s Seaway before it is torn down. She is moving into La Casa de los Viejitos, a facility for seniors. As she and Estrella say goodbye to various elements of the Seaway, Tía Fortuna’s attitude is accepting—her home will be a memory, like the home she left in Havana years earlier—though there are hints that she shares some of Estrella’s apprehension. Bittersweet though the story is, the overall atmosphere is one of warmth, both in the reassuringly portrayed Casa de los Viejitos as Tía Fortuna settles in and meets her neighbors and in the central Sephardic Jewish family. The dreamy mixed-media illustrations are filled with references to all aspects of Tía Fortuna’s background, both in her remembrances and physically among her belongings, with the (somewhat lengthy) text granting particular significance to a mezuzah, a key, and, of course, tasty borekas. An author’s note gives more information about Sephardic Jews and Behar’s own connection to the story, and a glossary defines the many terms from Spanish, Hebrew, and other languages used within the text. A welcome story about change and aging loved ones, and about Sephardic culture.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees.

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