Dad Bakes

by Katie Yamasaki (Author)

Dad Bakes
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Katie Yamasaki's newest picture book is an intimate and tender story of the love between a father and a daughter.

Dad wakes early every morning before the sun, heading off to work at the bakery. He kneads, rolls, and bakes, and as the sun rises and the world starts its day, Dad heads home to his young daughter. Together they play, read, garden, and--most importantly--they bake.

This lovely, resonant picture book was inspired by muralist Katie Yamasaki's work with formerly incarcerated people. With subtle, uncluttered storytelling amplified by her monumental and heartfelt paintings, she has created a powerful story of love, of family, and of reclaiming a life with joy.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Inspired by families affected by incarceration, muralist Yamasaki (Everything Naomi Loved) follows a bald, tattooed, apparently East Asian father and his child in this deceptively simple picture book. "Dad wakes," the volume opens; he stretches as a clock reads 3 a.m., a golden ribbon with a protracted "yawn" stretching from his mouth. Heading out through empty city streets ("The moon shines./ Dad walks"), he arrives at Rise Up! Bakery, where he joins tattooed Black and brown-skinned employees in baking bread. Author-illustrator Yamasaki offers spare, cadenced prose: "He scoops./ He kneads./ He rolls.// Dough rises./ Dad makes small rolls, / Dad makes large loaves." At daybreak, Dad returns home; after resting, he and his child make their own dough, waiting for it to rise as they spend time together in paneled vignettes--gardening, reading, playing soccer--before Dad gives his child a warm surprise. Richly saturated, dynamic paintings showcase expressive, inclusive community, and intricately detailed spreads offer plenty to pore over in this meditative tale centering the significance of daily rhythms as well as familial and community love. Back matter includes an affecting author's note, including links to organizations that support formerly incarcerated people and their families. Ages 6-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2021

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