It is 1911. Crammed into a three-room flat in a Mott Street tenement, the large Taglia family needs all the help they can muster. Spunky songbird Lily wants to help by baking Daily Bread at the bakery like big sister, Margaret. But Margaret says Lily is just a little kid, and there is more to baking Daily Bread than height and an artist’s heart. Lily learns to navigate in a grown-up world when facing bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and treacherous streets to cross by herself.
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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
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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
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Antoinette Truglio Martin’s novel, 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. It does not take long for the reader to get fully immersed in the day-to-day lives of characters who are devoted to making better lives for themselves and their families. 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. The characters are incredibly well-developed, each with an authentic voice that makes the characters relatable to the reader. The study of the immigrant experience in our history books does not humanize the people who chose to leave their countries of origin for a chance at a better life. Truglio Martin makes the immigrant experience vivid as her characters deal with the customs, sights, sounds, and sometimes the smells of lower Manhattan in 1911.
After reading Daily Bread, one cannot help but wonder how our own ancestors dealt with the challenges of adapting to life in America. This novel is bound to initiate family conversations about those who crossed oceans to fulfill their dreams.
Suzanne Travis High School English Curriculum Consultant
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Little Italy 1911. Immigration. Child labor. Racism. Poverty. Bullying. Along with school and family, this is the world that nine-year old Lily Taglia must navigate with the help of her big sister Margaret, and the support of her large Italian immigrant family. The Goldberg’s bakery is a place where neighborhood children can bake the Daily Bread for their families and pay only three cents, rather than five cents a loaf. The routine is rigorous. The young bakers must arrive at the bakery before school to mix and knead the dough. During their lunch time they return to the bakery to bake the bread. On their way home from school they pick up the freshly baked loaf to bring home to their families. The children must be a certain height in order to participate. Lily isn’t quite tall enough, and twelve-year old Margaret is none too happy when their mother insists that Lily tag along to watch and learn how to bake the bread.
As a child, Lily is expected to follow orders and not ask questions, to stay out of the way and to do whatever she can to help the family. Lily tries to toe the line, but her imagination and curiosity, along with the hazards of life in the tenements get her into trouble. For Lily, going to the bakery is a step into the world of adults; of learning and keeping secrets, of solving problems on her own, and responsibility.
In Daily Bread, Antoinette Truglio Martin paints a vivid picture of life in tenements. From the neighborhood in Little Italy, to the Taglia family apartment, the schoolroom, and food, as well as familial values, and politics, Mrs. Martin’s attention to sensory detail and historical fact guides the reader through the difficult and sometimes dangerous events that befall Lily and her family. And as a gifted storyteller, Mrs. Martin has the reader turning the page to discover what happens next in the life of Lily Taglia, making this middle-grade novel entertaining as well as educational.
Jacqueline Goodwin MFA is a retired Middle and High School Language teacher. She currently lives in upstate New York where she writes fiction and works in the children’s department of the local library.
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I fell in love with the characters. All of them felt like they could have their own back stories. The imagery and descriptions painted a picture for the reader throughout. I was transported back in time and enjoyed every minute of it! The bakery scenes and moments with the Goldbergs are wonderful. The ending was SO jam packed and was surprised by the heaviness of it all. Daily Bread is a great read. I am excited to see the next steps for the characters I have grown to love.
Instructional Coach Grades 6-8, Harlem, New York
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I loved the story! I could not put Daily Bread down because I had to find out what happened to the characters.
Lady Lester, Author, Texas