Synopses & Reviews
The First Tortilla
is a moving, bilingual story of courage and discovery. A small Mexican village is near starvation. There is no rain, and the bean and squash plants are dying.
Jade, a young village girl, is told by a blue hummingbird to take a gift to the Mountain Spirit. Then it will send the needed rain.
Burning lava threatens her, but Jade reaches the top of the volcano. The Mountain Spirit is pleased. It allows the ants in a nearby cave to share their corn with Jade. The corn was sweet and delicious and Jade took some back to save the village.
Jade grinds the dry corn, adds water, and makes dough. She pats the masa and places it on hot stones near the fire. She has made the first tortilla. Soon the making of corn tortillas spreads throughout Mexico and beyond.
Reading level: grade 3 and up
This moving, bilingual story of courage and discovery tells a legendary tale of the first tortilla, made by a small girl who saves her Mexican village from drought and starvation. Full color.
The story of a young Mexican girl who saves her village by making the first tortilla with the help of the Mountain Spirit.
About the Author
Rudolfo Anaya, widely acclaimed as one of the founders of modern Chicano literature, is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. Anaya was presented with the National Medal of Arts for literature in 2001 and his novel Alburquerque (the city's original Spanish spelling) won the PEN Center West Award for Fiction. He has also received the Premio Quinto Sol, the national Chicano literary award, the American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation, the Mexican Medal of Friendship from the Mexican Consulate, and the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement Award. He is best known for the classic Bless Me Ultima. Amy Cordova lives in Taos, New Mexico, and is a longtime artist and educator. She has illustrated many children's books and has won several awards for illustration, including the ALA Pura Belpró Award.