cover image Tía Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey

Tía Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey

Ruth Behar, illus. by Devon Holzwarth. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-59317-241-4

Estrella’s elderly aunt must leave her longtime home, a pink Miami Beach casita—the place where, as a Sephardic Jewish refugee fleeing from Havana she brought “nothing but a suitcase of old photographs and the mezuzah that hung on her doorpost and a key to a home gone forever.” As Tía Fortuna prepares for a new life at what she calls “La Casa de los Viejitos,” she and Estrella say goodbye to the beach and eat a plate of homemade borekas that the woman tells her niece are filled with “potatoes and cheese and... esperanza.” Behar’s (Letters from Cuba) warmhearted storytelling turns the past, present, and future into a confluence of connections as Estrella realizes her role in a legacy of faith, hope, and resilience. The text’s lyrical mood is well supported by Holzwarth’s (Papa, Daddy, and Riley) mixed media illustrations. Tía Fortuna’s colorful dress, warm smile, and swirl of bright white hair exude energy and resolve, while the compositions’ curvilinear lines and embellishments of Sephardic Jewish and tropical motifs speak to a life well lived—with plenty of joy still ahead. Back matter includes an author’s note and Spanish-to-English glossary. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)