Cinnamon Baby: A Delicious Read

Have I mentioned that I love using picture books to jumpstart lessons with my reluctant sixth grade readers? At first, they grumble and they mumble but then they sit oh so quietly….
I would like to use the books just for fun read alouds but with savvy middle schoolers, I need an excuse. So I use picture books to jumpstart and/or reinforce skills.
One of my new favorites is a yummy book, Cinnamon Baby, by Nicola Winstanley. It is illustrated deliciously by Janice Nadeau.
Miriam is a baker who owns her own little bakery (ohhh…an entrepreneurial woman!). She bakes wonderful breads all day and Winstanley describes these in mouthwatering detail. Miriam also sings while she bakes, saving her favorite cinnamon bread for the end of the day. One cool autumn morning, a handsome man happens by who is lured to Miriam’s bakery by the sweet smells and her lovely singing. And after a year of buying cinnamon bread from Miriam, Sebastian proposes. By and by, a baby is on the way.
Miriam continues to work in her bakery until the baby is born (ohhh…a working mother!).
For three days, the baby is content doing baby things but on the fourth day, the baby starts crying, and crying, and crying, and crying…It takes a few days for Miriam and Sebastian to discover what will stop the crying. Do you know?
Perhaps my favorite part of this wonderful book is that “cinnamon baby” is a biracial baby…Miriam is white, Sebastian is black. But you only know this from the illustrations. It’s not the conflict.
So how can this lovely book be used for classroom instruction? Students can complete a plot diagram….introduction, setting, characterization, conflict and resolution. Present background knowledge on baking, and herbs and spices, as many ingredients are mentioned as Miriam’s baked goods are described. If you’re feeling really ambitious, perhaps baking cinnamon bread with your students! The possibilities are endless.

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