Children at Work

So Much Goings-On

The first book in The Becoming America’s Stories series, Daily Bread, is evolving with a new title and cover. The Heart of Bakers and Artist is the new title. An exciting cover reveals on July 28th. Follow as The Heart of Bakers and Artist (aka Daily Bread) re-releases into the world on August 17th. Check out the interesting insights and giveaways along the way.  

Children At Work

The first order of business for immigrant families who began their American story in New York City at the turn of the 20th century was to secure a job. There were options, but millions needed work. Industrial factories employed a multitude of people. Entrepreneurs pushed carts into the street, hawking their wares, and home sweatshops turned the tight three-room tenement apartments into mini factories so that all the family members had a job, including the children. Some households made artificial flowers or rolled cigars. Needlework was most common. My grandmothers recalled having a quota of piecework to do at home. Children sewed buttons and snaps and finished cuffs and collars as homework.

In the Little Italy neighborhood, 1911, where The Heart of Bakers and Artist (aka Daily Bread) takes place, children’s earnings added into the family’s weekly income. Every penny counted toward survival and the dream of a home beyond the Lower East Side. Little luxuries such as a ribbon or peppermint sticks were special treats on special occasions.

courtesy of the Library of Congress

 Margaret, the eldest sister in The Heart of Bakers and Artist (aka Daily Bread) saved two cents a day by baking the family’s Daily Bread at Goldberg’s Bakery. The savings were a big help to the Taglia family, and the bread is the most delicious. Lily wanted to be a big help too, but was most interested in how magical the bakery is with Mrs. Goldberg dancing in the basement and Knot Surprises for breakfast and lunch. Margaret said Lily is a little kid and not ready to bake bread. In reality, Margaret was stalling for the inevitable. She was expected to quit school and work in a garment factory for a steady wage.

Many children, especially girls, had to cut short their education and childhood to work full time. Reformed child labor laws insisted children had to be 14 years old to work, but it enforcement was not a priority. My grandmother lamented throughout her life about not finishing elementary school, working as an operator in a dress factory six days a week, ten hours a day, and handing over her pay to her mother each week.

Check back tomorrow for the exciting cover reveal!

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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