Connecting everyone to the world of story

Image Alt

Story Links

  /  Reviews   /  Picture Books   /  Tayta’s Secret Ingredient

Tayta’s Secret Ingredient

By Amal Abou-Eid & Cara King

Reviewed by Lara Cain Gray

The whole atmosphere of Tayta’s Secret Ingredient is as warm as freshly baked biscuits. From the clever cover, which positions the viewer in the oven, to the gentle, conflict-free narrative. This is a quiet book about family, culture and love.
Tomorrow is Harmony Day at Billy’s school and the children are invited to bring something that represents their culture to share. It’s Billy’s favourite day! There’ll be colour, music, traditional clothes and lots of yummy food. Billy’s Tayta (grandmother) offers to make some kaak, a Lebanese treat with a special secret ingredient. Billy watches Tayta carefully as she adds eggs and flour, kneads and mixes. When Tayta finally pops the biscuits into the oven, Billy is surprised! “Where’s your secret ingredient?” he asks. “It’s a little pinch of love from my heart,” Tayta laughs. Billy can’t wait to take the kaak to school – but he won’t be sharing the recipe!
Author Amal Abou-Eid began writing when she realised she couldn’t find relatable picture books for her children. This book makes a positive contribution to the growing availability of multicultural Australian stories. Perfect for very young readers, this book showcases everyday life in an Australian-Lebanese family, with a positive intergenerational relationship and exchange of cultural signifiers. Billy has never made kaak before, and Tayta did not grow up with Harmony Days. While Billy is centred in the story, they are learning a little from each other.
Elsewhere in the story we are introduced to other Lebanese traditions – a tarboush and sherwal, the colours of the flag – whilst the Harmony Day spread shows children in a range of traditional dresses enjoying themselves. A perfect book for sharing on Harmony Day, of course, but also a reminder that every day is an opportunity to celebrate diversity.
Midnight Sun Publishing 2024
Amal Abou-Eid
Cara King
Lara Cain Gray’s book The Grown Up’s Guide To Picture Books is being published in September this year.
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

Error: Contact form not found.

Free shipping
for orders over 50%