Irene and the Baking Contest by Effie Hill is a satisfying, family-friendly story for new readers. Irene, age 10, loves to bake bread. So she enters the town baking contest, in her village on the island of Crete. Her Yaya, or grandmother, mentors her. In fact, Yaya won the contest when she was ten years old!
But Irene has to beat Maria to get the prize she wants: money to buy some special earrings. So, Maria is her rival. Her enemy. No? Should she actually try to hinder what Maria is doing?
Irene is torn, and remembers some Bible wisdom about loving your enemies. So, how to do that?
After Irene’s goat eats her contest-entry loaf, things get more and more complicated.
It’s a great little story, set in a culture so different from our own. I really enjoyed reading this. It’s a terrific tale for a young person learning to read.