It is 1911, and nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants loves to sing, and wants to, has to, prove she is not a little kid. She and her large family are crammed into a three-room flat in New York City’s Lower East Side. Everyone must do their share to help out. Big sister Betta sews home piece work and bossy Margaret bakes discounted Daily Bread at Goldberg’s bakery for the Taglia family. Lily wants to do more than dry dishes, keep little sister Gigi out from underfoot, and not make her sisters or Mama crazy with her singing. When Mrs. Goldberg, the baker’s wife, notices Lily’s height and recognizes her artist heart, she invites Lily to learn how to bake Daily Bread with Margaret. Lily is thrilled to have a big kid job in the magical bakery basement where Mrs. Goldberg dances and gives away sweet Knot Surprises. Mama thinks this is a good arrangement too. Now Margaret can quit school to work in a factory for a wage. But Margaret likes school and wants to be a somebody. Besides, she says Lily is just a little kid, and there’s more to baking Daily Bread than height and an artist’s heart. Mama stands firm and Lily tags-a-long with Margaret only to learn that being a big kid is fraught with bullies, disasters, and treacherous streets to cross by herself.
The Heart of Bakers and Artists ~ Daily Bread is a humbling experience as you read through the chapters and gain a relationship with the characters. It embraces child labor, the hardships immigrant families endured during a time spoken very little about. I couldn’t put the book down and am hoping for a sequel. Daily Bread is brilliant.
~Marie Yervasi Youth Services Librarian/Programmer Westhampton Beach Free Library
The Heart of Bakers and Artists ~ Daily Bread is a page turning story about family ties, community and struggle on Mott Street in 1911. Antoniette Truglio Martin will captivate young readers wanting to know more about the immigration period as they travel through time with this heartfelt story about the way it was and how Daily Bread from the bakery wafts a ripple effect of meanings for the characters and their places in the world.
~Adrienne Cirone Associate Principal K-6, Reading Specialist
The Heart of Bakers and Artists ~ Daily Bread, is an impressive piece of MG historical fiction about the Taglias, a Sicilian family who immigrated to America at the beginning of the twentieth century. You will fall in love with the Taglia sisters and their dreams. This novel is definitely a page turner! Truglio Martin has beautifully crafted a story rich with the history of Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1911. The author deftly captures the essence of the immigrants’ experiences in their new homeland.
~Suzanne Travis , High School English Curriculum Consultant