Tortillas are Round / Las tortillas son redondas

Book review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
Tortillas are Round / Las tortillas son redondas Book Poster Image
Fun bilingual book of shapes celebrates Mexican culture.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Learn about shapes in the real world while exploring Mexican culture.

Positive Messages

We can learn so much if we just take the time to explore the world around us. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Paints a beautiful picture of Mexican culture and the importance of those who came before us. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tortillas are Round / Las tortillas son redondas, by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by John Parra, is a lively bilingual picture book that draws kids into Latino culture as they discover a world of shapes all around them. For example, rectangles are ice-cream carts and "triangles are crunchy chips for guacamole." Rich, colorful illustrations and fun-to-read rhyming text introduces kids to Spanish vocabulary. A Spanish translation of the full text also appears on each page. An English-only edition of this book, titled title Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes, is also available.

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What's the story?

TORTILLAS ARE ROUND / LAS TORTILLAS SON REDONDAS is the story of a little girl that discovers shapes all around her, at home and within her community. She observes that "round is a pot of abuela's stew," while "square is the park" nearby. John Parra's illustrations resemble Mexican folk art that seems to transport us to the Mexico of the ancestors. Whimsical elements like a mermaid in the bay and blue angel wings on the backs of Mariachis with painted faces add to the the storyline of a time long ago.

Is it any good?

This book of shapes offers a fun way to encourage kids to explore and identify shapes in the real world around them. Author Roseanne Greenfield Thong beautifully exposes young readers of Tortillas are Round / Las tortillas son redondas to Spanish vocabulary by incorporating it into the English text. The same story can be read in Spanish by kids or parents looking to practice two languages. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, giving Mexican American families and Latinos in general a great opportunity to explore their culture in a fun way.

A follow up to Greenfield Thong's Round is a Mooncake, this book of shapes also features a short glossary at the end that explains the cultural significance of the objects featured. This book makes a great read-aloud and a perfect book for parents to read to their children as they celebrate the beauty of Mexican culture.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can explore the world around them, just like the girl in Tortillas are Round / Las tortillas son redondas, and identify shapes they find at home, school, and the community beyond. What shapes do you find at home? What homes can you identify at the park?

  • Read through the glossary together at the back of the book and discuss the cultural significance of some of the different items mentioned in the book. Do you like to eat guacamole with your tacos? Do you enjoy Mariachi music?

  • Mexican culture is illustrated in this book. Is your family from Mexico? What culture does your family celebrate?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love bilingual books and Latino stories

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