Early one morning, children’s book author Fred Lipp asked Alison Pray, the owner of Standard Bakery to share a secret about her shop. Without hesitation, she told him about the “bread song,” when newly baked loaves snap and crackle as they are taken out of the oven.
When Standard Bakery was located on Wharf Street, there was a Thai restaurant across the street. In the twenty-five steps between those two businesses, Lipp imagined that a Thai “new arrival” or immigrant with limited English might find walking into an English-speaking bakery a challenge. But after hearing the bread “sing”, Lipp wondered how the experience would impact such a new neighbor. How would Alison’s secret loosen the tongue of a child and make him feel more at home in this new country? These explorations would become foundations for the children’s picture book, Bread Song.
Bread Song will be celebrated at the Portland Public Library in Monument Square on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM as part of a city-wide read entitled “I’m Your Neighbor, Portland.” Author Fred Lipp will read aloud from his book. The event will include a book signing, book giveaway, and the sharing of bread from many cultures. The event is free of charge. For more information, contact Curious City at 207-420-1126.
Set in Portland’s Old Port District, Bread Song tells the story of a community helping a Thai boy who has recently immigrated to America feel welcome. Young Chamnan is new to this strange land. Across the street from his family’s Thai restaurant is Alison’s Bakery, which sells bread and where everyone speaks English. Chamnam feels shy about speaking to others in the difficult language that his grandfather is teaching him, until the day that Alison the baker invites him to witness something simply magical.
Fred Lipp is the award-winning author of several multicultural children’s picture books set around the world. In addition to writing children’s books, he is the founder of the Cambodian Arts and Scholarship Foundation, which helps educate girls in Cambodia from 6th grade through university. His organization provides the opportunity for girls from rural villages to pursue higher education and employment. He and his wife have visited Cambodia many times and built long lasting relationships with the students and their villages. Lipp is also a former minister of First Parish in Portland.