How a Glimpse in a Life Became the Story

My maternal grandmother, Margaret, was an animated storyteller, demanding attention while recapping events and trespasses she endured. She frothed many of her stories with anger and disappointments, However, her accounts about baking bread at the Jewish bakery and having to bring her tag-a-long little kid sister, Lily, softened her tone. The story stuck with me for years.

At first, I thought of keeping the story simple—Lily’s quest to bake Daily Bread like big sister Margaret. My research, however, brought me into the depths of the time. A bigger story wanted to be told.  

photo by the Tenement Museum

Grandma and her sisters grew up in New York City’s Lower East Side tenements. They lived on Mott Street, a Little Italy neighborhood. During the early twentieth century, epic waves of European immigrants flocked to the shores and streets of the LES. My research in the archives and at the Tenement Museum revealed that this era lay the foundations of crucial milestones in America that reverberate into today. 

First-generation immigrant children had to be as resilient and brave as their parents (sometimes more) while navigating dangerous streets and living in crowded three-room apartments. The research and long conversations with my parents, aunts and uncles clarified the details and realities. My protagonist evolved into Lily, an optimistic nine-year-old girl with a song in her heart and a desire to prove she is not a little kid. The sweet story spun in historical markers that affected the struggles of children during this time.

I used my writer’s privilege and took the personality traits of my great grandparents, grandmother and her sisters to create the characters in The Heart of Bakers and Artists (aka Daily Bread). 

The Heart of Bakers and Artists (aka Daily Bread) will be re-released on August 17th with a NEW cover. The cover art was illustrated by Penny Weber ( I think you will all be impressed. Stay tuned for the cover reveal on Wednesday, July 28th. 

While you are anticipating the re-release, I thought I would answer questions about the story, The Heart of Bakers and Artists (aka Daily Bread). Do you have a question? Ask in the comment box. Use the hashtag #theheartofbakersandartists

Enjoy ❤️.   Like 👍.  Share 😊. 

Thanks you for indulging me. Great big thank you to Natalie the Explorer, the incredible host of Weekend Coffee Share.


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If you had purchased a paperback or ebook Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food StoriesThank you!

Take a picture of you with Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food Stories, and I’ll send you Reader’s Swag and add you to the Becoming America’s Stories Readers slideshow, coming soon! Kid pics are welcomed with parent or guardian permission. Don’t forget to leave a rating and quick comment on Amazon and/or Goodreads.


Daily Bread is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself
Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.

“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

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