Grandpa's Magic Tortilla
Publication Date: November 2010
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Grandpa Luis loves to have his grandchildren, Alejandra, Daniel, and Benjam n, visit him in his hometown of Chimayo, New Mexico, and is happy to make a fresh batch of homemade tortillas whenever the children want them. One morning, Grandpa Luis leaves a tortilla on the griddle too long, almost burning it. Grandma puts the crunchy tortilla aside for Grandpa's lunch quesadilla, but not before the children discover something very unusual about the tortilla. Benjam n has seen the perfect shape of a bear, but Daniel swears he saw a dolphin. When Alejandra goes for a second look, all three of them watch as the body of the bear changes into a dolphin and then into a coyote right before their eyes. Word spreads quickly and soon the neighborhood children are clamoring to see animals appear in the magic tortilla.
Through a child's lens, this lighthearted bilingual tale presents the contemporary phenomenon of sacred and mundane objects appearing on everyday items like doors, walls, toast or, in this case, a tortilla.
Born in Albuquerque, NM, in 1960, where she now resides, Martinez earned her BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She teaches at the annual June writing workshop at the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston. Martinez writes a column for the independent progressive bi-weekly, The National Catholic Reporter. She is involved with Enlace Comunitario, an immigrants' rights group which works with Spanish-speaking survivors of domestic violence.