Why We Chose This Book: Tía Fortuna’s New Home

A girl and a woman among flowers


This beautiful book has the gentle breeziness of a daydream on the beach. Young Estrella joins her beloved tía (Spanish for “aunt”) Fortuna for a bittersweet visit as Fortuna packs and says goodbye to her oceanfront Miami home. It's a quietly compelling story, built firmly on the deep connection this aunt and niece have with each other and with their Sephardic heritage. (Sephardic Jews are those of Spanish and Portuguese descent.)

Inspired by the real-life aunt of author Ruth Behar, Tía Fortuna shares fond memories of her earliest years in Havana. Illustrator Devon Holzwarth helps us look with childlike wonder through Estrella's eyes. We're shown the beauty that flows as much through Fortuna's stories as it does through her cooking, her home, and the Jewish traditions that will stay with her wherever she may live.

We love reading and re-reading this book, spending time with its loving family, and soaking in its multiple melodious languages. The English text is accentuated with words in Spanish, Hebrew, French, Japanese, Arabic, Yiddish, Portuguese, and the Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino. We hope your family enjoys Tía Fortuna's New Home as much as we do.