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Lorraine 5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2021. As a person who’s been on every tour at the Tenement Museum in NYC, I absolutely love this subject and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a brutally harsh life that these immigrant families lived though in 1911, but this story is told through the eyes of a child so you experience it in a more innocent way. Childhood games and delightful knot surprises contrast with the some of the extreme hardships they experiences such as of children that had to drop out of school to help support their families. It’s fascinating to see all the customs and daily rituals that went on in every day life and the author did a great job of recreating this historical fiction in a way that helps you really understand what it was like to grow up struggling in this time period without the protections and laws we have in place today.

Christina D.5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storytelling. Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2021 Verified Purchase. Inspired by stories Mrs. Martin heard as a young girl, she takes us on a journey that spans six weeks, set in 1911, in New York City. Antoinette Truglio Martin’s story is filled with both heart warming and heart breaking moments. I fell in love with sisters Margaret and Lily as we learned about the challenging times for children, especially immigrant children, during that time period. The girls started their days at the bakery to prep dough for the Daily Bread, go to school, leave at lunch to return to the bakery to punch the dough down, return to school and then head back to the bakery to finish baking/deliveries. Limited food and money were the common family struggles and stressors. Margaret struggled with wanting to continue going to school to further her education instead of working in a factory and Lily struggled with being seen as a silly little girl when she wanted to be big and important. Delicious Knot Surprises were described vividly in the book. The sweet dough may have been filled with cinnamon/sugar or a delicious fruit jam. My only complaint is that the book did not come with a Knot Surprise to try! I am so excited to continue on the journey with Margaret and Lily in Mrs. Martin’s second book in the series.

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PeterC 5.0 out of 5 stars Really captures the era and tenement living. Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2021 Verified Purchase. This story is aimed at middle school aged kids, so not something I’d typically pick up, but I was glad I did. Set in a NY tenement in 1911, it really illustrated how difficult life was in that era. The author paints a vivid picture of the challenges, but also tells a heart-warming story about the relationship between sisters and the family/friends around them. It was a very enjoyable way to be submerged in and experience that period in history. I’d highly recommend this for a middle school aged kid, but a surprisingly good read for an adult as well.

Cocoa: Storytelling at it’s Best! Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2021 Verified PurchaseJust finished reading Daily Bread and loved it. Antoinette Truglio Martin is a gifted writer and talented storyteller. I felt I was right there in the basement making bread with the sisters. Her descriptions of the time period were spot on. Living in NYC I know some of the history of the lower city. Ann describes the streets, tenements and city life were spot on.
I am first generation; I gave this to my grandniece who is 12. I believe it’s a great way to get her interested in history and learn in a fun way how it was when her great grandparents came here.
Hats off to Antoinette for a fantastic read!

Gary A. Wilson 5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction for teens. Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020 Verified Purchase. Ms. Martin has produced a wonderful piece that I wish we had when home schooling our 3 through their young teen years. It is a smooth and comfortable snapshot of the period that left me, as good historical fiction should, with mental images and vivid memories just like I was there watching her story unfold. Her characters mature and her drama is well suited to the teen years. I would have loved reading this story to my 8, 10 &12 year olds and can just imagine the conversations we would have enjoyed. I highly recommend Daily Bread for teenaged readers to taste good historical fiction but especially for home schoolers who I know are always looking for great books for their students.

Malve von Hassell
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly moving and compelling fiction that brings to life the images in Jacob Riis’ photographs. Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2020 Verified Purchase Daily Bread takes you deep into the tenements of the Lower East Side in New York City in the early 1900s. From the first pages the reader is drawn in and quickly comes to love the various characters, from the mother stuck in the old ways, fearful and suspicious of change, the father trying to support his family against all odds, the daughter who can see the big picture and is determined to move beyond the shackles imposed upon her by poverty and lack of education, the bully who lashes out in his desperation and misery, overwhelmed by the cards dealt to him, the kindly and generous Russian speaking immigrants who try to make a living at baking bread while entirely unsuited to this task, and the dreamer who sees music and love wherever she looks. Truglio Martin offers a wealth of bewitching details. One cannot help but be swept up in the scents and feel of baking bread or the steam from the pot of Pasta e Fagioli on the stove, contrasted with the perennial gnawing hunger and worry about what the next day will bring. Even the disastrous fire at the Shirtwaist Factory is woven into the story line. For anyone interested in urban history in the early 1900s, in the lives of people on the Lower East Side, and in the history of immigration, this is a book not to be missed. Written for middle-grade readers and succeeding eminently at that, the book is also one that would appeal to readers of all ages. Highly recommended.

The Heart of Bakers and Artists 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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The Heart of Bakers and Artists 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, The Heart of Bakers and Artists 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 The Heart of Bakers and Artists, 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 The Heart of Bakers and Artists, 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. The Heart of Bakers and Artistsis a great read. I am excited to see the next steps for the characters I have grown to love.

Kerri Flaherty-Fisco

Instructional Coach Grades 6-8, Harlem, New York

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I loved the story! I could not put The Heart of Bakers and Artists down because I had to find out what happened to the characters. 

Lady Lester, Author, Texas