Why the Ginger?

The first book in The Becoming America’s Stories series, Daily Bread, is evolving with a new title and cover. The new title is The Heart of Bakers and Artist. 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.  

  I am often asked why my main characters are redheads with blue eyes. Typical Sicilians are usually dark-haired beauties with deep brown eyes. That is a stereotype. A multitude of cultures invaded Sicily for centuries. Remnants of conquering nordic Europeans, Africans, and Asians are found in the architecture, food, superstitions, and the hair and eye color of the indigenous people. My heritage is a testimony to the diverse mix.

Although my only memory of my great grandfather was that of a bald old man, my mother and grandmother remember him as taller than most men, with a thick head of copper red hair and piercing blue eyes. I am told he looked like his mother, a woman trapped in a series of bad luck and pervasive superstitions and suspicion. She hid her red hair and cast her blue eyes from accusing neighbors. She may have fared better in America, but that was not her story.

Three of my grandmother’s sisters looked like their papa—copper red hair, piercing blue eyes. Two of the three were exceptionally tall as compared with the other sisters. The genetic line beyond that generation did not produce such striking features. However, tinted suggestions occurred. My brother’s beard was more red than the dark brown hair on his head. One of my sisters had light brown hair with reddish highlights. Many of us are taller than average.

I enjoyed setting up my little hero, Lily, in The Heart of Bakers and Artists (aka Daily Bread) with features that subtly set her apart from the stereotype. The look helped me make her stand out against the crowds of the tenements and streets. It also gave me some license to write Lily’s sisters and friends beyond the stereotypical ethnic descriptions. It punctuated the fact that America was not the first melting pot of peoples. 

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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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