The Heart of Bakers and Artists-Book 1 of the Becoming America’s Stories Series

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.

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