Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris

Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris

A simple picture book can convey messages beyond words.

If I told you that a picture book held, say, fifty words or so in it, you’d probably think it was one of those boring Bob books that are used to teach kids words today, or even a “See Jane” book from your own childhood. But what if I told you that there is a book that only contains a few words, yet through its provocative (but age appropriate) photos, a much deeper story—and even discussion—could emerge from it?

That’s exactly the case when it comes to Ann Morris’s Bread, Bread, Bread with photographs by Ken Heyman. I ran across the book on a list of books about environmental and social awareness and was lucky enough to discover that our library carried it. The text alone doesn’t tell you that much. Sure, bread is crunchy or soft, it’s good for you (what a revolutionary thought in the west! I was so happy to read that bread makes you strong and healthy to my child), and people use it to sop up eggs and so forth. But the real story emerges when you see the first photo in the book—which is of a young girl carrying a tray of flat breads on her head.

Why is she carrying these breads? What will she do with them? My six year old, who fortunately lives in a developed area where she is not required to work, has no idea what the answers to her questions might be. Maybe the young girl is going to a picnic. When we begin to talk about how some children must work to help their families out—and sometimes that work involves baking and selling bread and other baked goods—she is simply amazed.

And so goes the rest of the story—but especially its photos—with even more questions and explanations. At the end of the book, there is fortunately a breakdown of each type of bread and where the bread is from, with 29 different countries highlighted. From toasting bread outdoors in Italy to eating long loaves of baguette in France, kids will get both a kick out of seeing all of these breads and where they are from as well as simply be awed at how people of the world live similarly (such as the breads in both America and Indonesia) and differently (such as the tortillas of Mexico as opposed to the sweet filled breads of Hong Kong).