Bread and Stories

How many children’s books and stories do we know that feature bread in them? How many books are based in bakeries? There are plenty of books telling you how to bake bread, both for adults and children, but what about the baker as one of the main characters or a bakery as the central location? A quick google search will come up with hundreds of books featuring bakers and bread as the main location and character, probably because bread and baking is associated with warmth, comfort and sustenance.

There is the story of Hansel & Gretel, who leave a trail of bread crumbs as they make their way through the forest – we all know how that turned out for the poor witch who ended up in her own oven! I think the Gingerbread Man deserves a mention as he was a bit of a superhero running away from everyone who tried to catch him. It didn’t end well for him sadly.

Here we’ve picked out a few great, happier examples.

Everybody Bakes Bread, by Norah Dooley – in this lovely book, young Carrie is sent on a mission by her mother: to search the neighbourhood for a "three-handled rolling pin." While on her quest, Carrie discovers that although her neighbours hail from several different countries, they all enjoy the tastes and smells of home-baked bread.

The Little Red Hen – (author unknown) - This is a cautionary tale about how we reap what we sow! When the hen asks a duck, cat, and dog for help planting some wheat, she gets no takers. They won't cut, thresh, or mill the wheat . . . or help bake bread with it, either. So guess who eats the bread by herself in the end?

Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven - the story of a baker who decides to bring some warmth to the town on a dull, chilly day by making a sun bread.

Some books where a baker is the main character:

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher - Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her magic only works on bread!

For Manga fans there’s Yakitate!! Japan - Sixteen-year-old Azuma Kazuma has a dream: to create ‘Ja-pan', the national bread of Japan. Having experimented on his family with his culinary creations, there is only so much Kazuma can do alone, so in order to enhance his skills and achieve his goals, Kazuma decides to relocate to Tokyo in order to work at the renowned bakery called Pantasia.

A graphic novel set in bakery is all about romance as the dough rises! It’s called Bloom, by

Kevin Panetta, Savanna Ganucheau (Illustrator)

There are so many more to choose from, and we hope you enjoy reading these few and the many others where the bread baker is the hero!